“I didn’t really know what to expect with baby massage, but now having completed Katie’s course I can clearly see the benefits. Katie was professional, made the sessions enjoyable and put us all at ease. I think it’s a great skill for any father to have in his tool kit and am pleased my fiancée persuaded me that this would be a good thing for us to do for our babies.”
Baby massage is a wonderful thing to learn and implement daily for many reasons. The first and most important one is that is helps create and strengthen the bond between mother and baby, and so essentially, father and baby. This is because when we are touched and massaged in a loving way, touch receptors in our skin are stimulated. We have thousands of touch receptors in our skin which all send messages to the brain. The brain then releases oxytocin, the love hormone. (This is why you always feel good and relaxed after a massage). Spending focused quiet time giving your baby massage talking to them, smiling at them and having close attentive eye contact means that your bond is strengthened every day. Baby massage also enables daddy to have that precious time with baby in the early weeks rather than just doing the more mundane jobs of changing the nappy, clothes or bottle feeding.
Baby massage also helps to relax you and has been shown to help relieve and reduce the symptoms of post-natal depression. It also helps you to recover from it more quickly.
Alongside the benefits to both parents and with baby’s growth and development (particularly their muscles and brain), baby massage is especially beneficial for premature babies. It has been found that regular daily massage increased premature baby weight by 5 grams a day improving their overall health far more quickly than without massage. When carried out in a hospital setting it meant that the babies were able to be discharged more quickly and go home.
Daily massage with your baby will help with brain development and encourage new neural pathways to be made. It also helps the baby become aware of its body as a baby doesn’t know it has hands and feet to begin with. It’s quite a magical moment when around 3 months your baby notices it’s hands and fingers for the first time. (It’s not until they are around 18 months old that they have full body and spatial awareness). Baby massage also aids development of the digestive system easing colic and constipation as a baby’s body has to learn to digest food in a new way after it’s born. There can also be a positive impact on sleep as massage turns on the rest and digest nervous system allowing sleep to come more easily. (This is why when you have a massage you feel very sleepy during and might even fall asleep). Baby massage also helps boost the immune system making it easier for your baby to get over colds more quickly. As your baby’s immune system is brand new, it is important that they do get exposed to coughs and colds etc so they can fight them off. However you don’t want your baby to have one all the time!
This is a few of the big things that daily baby massage can help with. It’s also a really enjoyable experience for you both, and quick and easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
“When my twin boys were just 2 months old I did some reading on the benefits of baby massage and was fortunate enough to have met Katie Ruane previously so she seemed the perfect person to teach my partner and myself. We had one on one sessions with her at our home and we both really enjoyed learning this special technique that helped us bond with our babies, plus was so good for them too. Katie was professional, patient, knowledgeable, a great teacher and clearly a natural with babies. I would highly recommend her and If the twins could speak I know they would say thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Learning baby massage with me:
I teach you at home one on one or with you and up to3 babies and its parents. Each class lasts an hour and the baby massage course lasts 4 weeks. You can alternatively learn Naturopathic approaches to baby massage which is 6 weeks long and you will build on your knowledge to support your baby’s health in a non-invasive and natural way.
For more information please see my website www.harleystreetnaturopath.co.uk
Brownell, C. A, et al,. (2007). “So Big”: The Development of Body Self-awareness in Toddlers. Child Development, 78(5 Field, T. (2010). Postpartum Depression Effects on Early Interactions, Parenting, and Safety Practices: A Review. Infant Behavior & Development . Volume33(1): 1. Goldstein Ferber et al,. (2002). Massage therapy given by mothers and trained professionals enhances weight gain in preterm infants. Early Human Development. Volume 67(1-2) :37-45 Ishokawa & Shiga. (2012). Massage changes babies’ body, brain and behaviour. Kansei Engineering International Journal. 11(3): 109-114. Moraska et al,. (2008). Physiological adjustments to stress measures following massage therapy: a review of the literature. eCAM 7(4): 409-18 Lund et al,.(2002). Repeated massage-like stimulation induces long-term effects on nociception: contribution of oxytocinergic mechanisms. European Journal of Neuroscience. Volume 16: 330-338.Bell et al,.2014). Beyond labour: the role of natural and synthetic oxytocin in the transition to motherhood. J Midwifery Women’s Health. Volume 59(1):35-42.
Major et al,. (2015). Massage-like stroking boosts the immune system in mice. Scientific Reports. Onozawa, K, et al,. (2011). Infant massage improves mother–infant interaction for mothers with postnatal depression. Journal of Affective Disorders , Volume 63(1) :201 – 207. Saleem et al., (2013). Effectiveness of massage therapy for treatment of infantile colic. Journal of Rawalpindi Medical College. 17(2): 178-180
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