From the moment a baby is born, touch is an instinctive form of communication between a parent and a baby. Baby massage is a form of touch given when the parent or caregiver gently but firmly strokes or holds the baby. Massage can be stimulating, playful and also relaxing.
Baby massage has been used in some cultures such as India and Africa for many years but is now gaining popularity in the western world.
Benefits of baby massage
For the baby:
It is thought to help a baby feel more loved and secure; this can help settle a baby. It is said that touch increases serotonin (love hormone) and decreases Cortisol (stress hormone).
It is thought massage increases the level of relaxation and therefore aids deeper sleep. Parents have reported that after a massage baby slept for 2 hours.
Babies really love having lots of eye contact from their parent/caregiver; this helps them feel loved and safe, massage is an ideal opportunity to do this.
Massage can reduce crying and emotional distress.
Massage can help growth and development and stimulate the baby’s internal systems such as digestion.
Massage is thought to help develop a baby’s awareness and co-ordination.
As a baby develops they begin to recognise different facial and emotional expressions, massage is thought to help with this recognition, which in turn helps with the development of early social skills.
Massage can offer relief from minor baby ailments such as constipation, colic, teething.
For the parents:
Massage can help you feel closer to your baby.
Massage can help you begin to get to know your baby and start to understand their behaviour and body language.
Massage can increase your confidence in handling your baby.
Some research suggests that baby massage can help reduce the incidence of postnatal depression.
As a parent sees their baby relaxing they begin to relax too.
Being part of a group is a great way to connect with other parents/caregivers who are experiencing some of the same situations as you. Its important parents have the opportunity to create bonds and feel supported in their new role.
What age can I start massage?
Massage can be done from birth however if you are joining a group the recommended age for a baby participating in massage is from 8 weeks. At this age baby is awake more often and can tolerate the amount of massage done during a class. Of course this will differ for each baby so speak to the group leader about your baby, their routine and needs to decide when is best for you.
How long is the group?
Each group is between 4/5 weeks and each session is about 1 hour. Each week the instructor will teach you a variety of massage stroke/techniques. We start by learning to massage baby’s legs and each week a new body part is taught. The massage will last between 10-25 minutes.
Do I need to bring anything with me?
All you need to bring along with you is a towel for your little one to lie on.
We will provide you with oil (we usually use coconut oil however if you would like to bring your own unscented oil you are welcome to).
We also provide you with instruction/songs sheets to help you practice at home.
How do I book my place?
Spaces are limited for this group and due to First Step funding requirements we are required to offer priority to local family.
Contact the Family Learning and Development Worker to book your place. firstname.lastname@example.org
Can a friend/family member come along with me?
Due to limited space we usually allow one adult with each baby, if you would like to bring an additional adult to the group please check with our group leader first.
Baby Massage and Covid-19
Due to current restrictions this group will be held online via Zoom for the foreseeable future.