THE WONDERS OF BABY MASSAGE

Author: Claire

Like most of us when pregnant, I spent time imagining the classes and coffee mornings I would attend once Austin was born and Baby Massage was literally at the top of my list as a class I knew I just had to attend! I had to say that I was literally spoilt for choice in Northampton but was just drawn to the ethos of Huddle & Bliss ‘babies have to be born, fed, loved, nurtured and cleansed…how you achieve that is your business’. So refreshing right? I instantly booked my class knowing I’d meet mums in a supportive environment and gosh, was I right?! Huddle & Bliss was everything it had promised and the mums I met I now call my friends.

Austin and I attended massage at 6 weeks postpartum and it was the perfect age. I got to the end of the 6 week session without finding him too wriggly and he was young enough to enjoy the benefits massage offered too. Struggling with PND at the time, I really found the class to be an amazing motivator to get me out of the house and it really helped me bond with Austin, something I found particularly hard in those early months.

For anyone considering going to a class with their newborn, I would highly recommend Baby Massage. Having a reason to leave the house and bond with Austin was something I’ll always be grateful for. Without it I wouldn’t have met the mums that unknowingly supported me through the tough times and without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Sherry Prosser, founder of Huddle & Bliss, dedicated to Mother and Baby Wellbeing through her classes, talks to us about the wonders of baby massage…

“Touch is the first language our babies learn. An 8 week old foetus responds to prying fingers during examinations and as they grow the smooth muscular walls of the uterus cradle them.

Touch is a language that newborns understand and through positive touch we are able to convey love, nurturing and security in a way they can respond to. During baby massage we are essentially communicating with them in a way they can fully comprehend.

Whilst baby massage offers a myriad of physical benefits to prevent, settle and soothe common ailments, surely the most important benefits are the emotional and positive infant brain developments that it supports. When we touch and cradle our newborns we promote the release of feel good hormones and endorphins like oxytocin that help to hardwire the infant brain in a positive way. Helping them to have trust and confidence in us responding to their cries and needs. Oxytocin is released not only in the brain but by the nerve receptors in the skin, hence we feel so amazing after a massage ourselves.

As a parent you are the first experience your baby ever has of a relationship and this experience lays the foundation and template of their future expectations in terms of what they should receive and in turn what they should give. Children that experience a secure and positive parental bond are far less likely to suffer from addiction, anxiety or depression in later life.

We often confuse love and bond. Whilst we generally, instantly fall in love with our new arrivals, bonding is often a journey that takes time. Bonds grow. Baby massage is the perfect way to support and enhance bonding. Baby massage allows us to purely focus on our baby for a few minutes each date and communicate through touch, eye contact and voice.

I have had the privilege of working with thousands of parents in the Northants area and regularly witness the magic of baby and parent communication at massage classes. It is so rewarding to see this exchange of love, attention and trust between parent and child and it never ceases to amaze me. The benefits of attending baby massage classes are mutual. Not only does baby gain so much but parents do too, not only in terms of gaining confidence and understanding their baby more, but in terms of their own physiological wellbeing. Parents that regularly massage their babies are seen to have lower blood pressure and lower stress levels than those that do not. Indeed baby massage is an effective tool employed by many perinatal health professionals in supporting mothers suffering from post natal depression.

Ever given an upset friend or family member a cuddle? Yes we all do it instinctively and when we do we each experience the release of the feel good hormones. That’s why we feel better for a cuddle. Whack your arm or stub your toe? Instinctively we rub things better, once again this action causes the release of feel good hormones which are also powerful natural pain relievers. We generally do these things without conscious thought…we just know they make us and others feel better.

On a physiological baby massage can help your baby’s immature nervous system to map out their body, it is always interesting to see a little one discover their feet and to immediately begin touching one foot as you massage the other!

Baby massage is excellent for preventing and easing wind, colic and constipation which as a new parent is extremely empowering and rewarding…and important step in gaining confidence particularly for first time parents. There is considerable evidence supporting the fact that babies who are massaged regularly do have better sleep patterns than babies who are not.

Attending a pure baby massage class is one of the very best first activities to do with your baby. Newborns are easily over stimulated. Receiving full attention, positive touch, eye contact and focus from our parent is one of the best experiences for a newborn baby. Our Blissful Baby Massage and Bonding Course is designed to move at a pace suitable for new arrivals in an ideal environment, giving time for adjustment to new experiences and time for true connection between parent and baby. A truly precious time and investment in your life together.

Whilst being a new parent is exciting, rewarding and the most important job we do, it can also be trying, challenging and very lonely. Getting outside of the house and making friends, sharing experiences, receiving and giving support to peers is so important. We go to great lengths to facilitate these crucial friendships at huddle & bliss and have the pleasure of seeing them grow and flourish over many years. If you want to learn about your baby, how to communicate with them, understand their cues, learn soothing techniques, enhance your bond and demonstrate your love for them in a way they understand and become a part of a friendly and supportive local community…then H&B Baby Massage is definitely for you.”

Sherry will be at our upcoming Artisan Baby Co Fair on the 28th July at Delapré Abbey. Spaces are now fully booked for her free taster session but she’ll be on hand to meet with anyone interested in Baby Massage or the other services she offers and to answer any questions you may have!

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