The lovely, gorgeous Polly from Bath Baby Massage is here to answer the most frequently asked questions about baby massage….
Attending a baby massage course is a fun and lovely way to spend dedicated time with your new born whilst getting to know and learning a skill that will benefit both them and you.
If you haven’t been on a course then you may wonder what goes on in a class and what baby massage actually involves. Here are the answers to some of the frequently asked questions around the topic.
Q: Who massages my baby in the class, me or the teacher?
A: You, the parent will be massaging your baby. As the instructor, I demonstrate the massage strokes on a baby doll (mine is called Jackson!). Baby massage is all about creating a beautiful bond between parent and baby so by using positive touch though massage this bonds develops and grows between the two of you. Massaging releases the ‘love’ hormone Oxytocin so as you massage your baby Oxytocin levels rise creating the wonderful feelings of love which strengthens the bond between you both.
Q: What do I do if my baby is asleep when I arrive to the class? Do I need to wake them up?
A: I recommend not waking them up to massage them in the class as this can make them a little cranky or restless, and if they are asleep then that’s what they need at that moment.
It is not a problem though and I have a spare doll that you can work on until your baby awakes so you don’t miss any of the lesson.
Q: What if I can’t do the massage? Or I’m not very good at it?
A: The massage strokes are very easy to do, very simple and I talk and demonstrate each of them step by step. If there are certain ones that seem a little hard to do then I will go over them a few times so everyone is comfortable doing them. I also give out a parent handbook that has little drawings and descriptions for each massage stroke so once you are at home doing it you can use the book as a guide.
Q: I have booked onto a course but my babies injections are booked in on one of the course days. Should I miss that week out?
A: I think it is a shame to miss out on a week and I encourage parents to still attend the class. I have found many babies are fine after their injections and massage is safe to do afterwards. If your baby is a little restless and doesn’t want the massage in that week then you can just sit back and relax with them, have a cuddle and watch me demonstrate the strokes. My class isn’t just about learning massage but it’s being part of a lovely group of people and having a fun hour with baby so even if you only watch 1 week, it’s still great to be in the class.
Q: I want to join the course but I’m concerned as my baby feeds a lot at the moment, will this disrupt the class?
A: The first thing I say on week 1 of the course is that the course is completely baby led. It has to be with so many little ones in a room together. You are never going to get a group of babies all quiet and alert at the same time, although often by week 2 onwards we do in the classes once they get used to the massage! But if you need to feed them and change their nappy, or they just don’t want to be lying on their back and want a cuddle, then you do it when and as many times as you need to in the class. The class is very relaxed and easy going and I always make sure that you see the strokes demonstrated at least once. I repeat the week before in the follow week so if you do miss doing any you get to do it again the week afterwards.
Q: My partner wants to come along too, can I bring him to 1 of the weeks?
A: The 6th session on the course is dedicated to dads/partners for this reason. Many of my clients husbands said they wanted to learn too so I added a weekend session on just for them. It is run over an hour and uses the same strokes as in the parent booklet but as a condensed version. I know from feedback that the dads have loved this session and gained a lot from it not only having quality one to one time with their little one but learning something they can do with them at home. (Mums, you also get an hour off on this day!)
Q: There are a few baby massage course in the area, are they all the same?
A: There are a few companies offering baby massage courses, and depending which teaching qualification the instructor did depends on how they teach. I trained with the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) who are the longest running training school for infant massage worldwide. They are now in most countries and created the original programme as it is taught today. I can’t speak for other teaching programmes but as an IAIM trained instructor we all teach the same way, over 5 weeks and using the same strokes. We incorporate massage strokes using Swedish and Indian movements, simple yoga movements and reflexology points to help alleviate many symptoms that babies have. And the course includes information to support the massage like reading baby cues and reflexes and how to adapt the massage as they grow.
My advice when choosing a class is read the testimonials about the course, and ask around for parents feedback as they are the best critics! You can read some of mine here on my website.
If you’re interested in learning how to massage your baby then please look at Polly’s dedicated website to see future course dates and read more about baby massage. Polly also offers post pregnancy massage care treatments.