Baby massage is an ancient art, which has been practiced for many years in India and is relatively new to the West. Tina Keogh is a fully qualified baby massage instructor and trained with The International Association of Infant Massage.
What is Infant or Baby Massage ?
It's a class for loving and caring parents (only parents massage their own child). Baby massage is an ancient art, which has been practiced for many years in India and is relatively new to the West; though gaining popularity everyday as many parents embark on the journey to discover the magic of touch and its power. It helps us understand an Infant’s non-verbal language, so that we can respond to it with love and respectful listening.
Parents / caregivers can learn about common areas of tension and techniques of touch relaxation / massage that work best in each developmental stage of a child. The bonds of trust and love, the lessons of compassion, warmth, openness, and respect, which are inherent in the massage routine, are carried with the child into adulthood.
So if I don't massage my baby I don't bond with it ?
No of course not. Bonding is a gradual process that builds trust and intimacy. It is a bit like falling in love, it can happen suddenly or the relationship may take time to grow. It can be the means by which the parent/caregiver carries, holds, touches, caresses, massages their baby, which helps them to understand how their nurturing touch can alleviate a variety of problems and strengthen their emotional and spiritual bond with their baby/child. However, you could say that baby massage gives an extra dimension to bonding. It also has many benefits that help deal with many of the normal problems new parents face with their new baby. A good example is colic.
So what are the benefits of baby massage for babies, children, parents and carers ?
· Infant parent attachment or "bonding"*
· Makes baby feel loved
· Promotes better sleep
· Facilitates body awareness
· Boosts immune system
· Sensory stimulation
· Improves skin condition
· Improves blood circulation
· Helps digestion problems and colic
· Balances respiration
· Relief for teething pains
· Helps waste elimination
· Helps you learn about your baby (Their needs and desires)
· Relaxes parents
· Helps build parents' and baby's self-esteem
· Pleasurable experience
· Stimulates production of oxytocin (Oxytocin is a hormone, which can be produced by both male and female persons during massage. It is useful as a pain reliever and has a calming effect on the person.)
What would I learn in your classes ?
You would learn different types of massage taken from India and Sweden, a little reflexology and some fun baby yoga exercises. We try to make the programme enjoyable for your baby by adding in rhymes and songs so that they recognise when to expect the strokes for the toes for example. We sing, “This little piggy went to market”. I also encourage parents to use songs from their own culture and it is a real sharing experience. I encourage parents to show respect to their baby by asking their permission to massage with clear hand signals. How to watch for their baby’s cues and to meet their baby’s needs immediately, which can mean a nappy change, a feed, a cuddle or whatever they feel their baby needs right now.
Do all the babies like the massage class ?
Many Mums ask this question in the first session because many babies do cry a little at the beginning. This is part of listening to your babies needs. It is a new sensation for your baby so we do it in little steps. Also we have to take into consideration that the environment is different, it can be noisy with a crying baby (which doesn’t last long) or you can have a very chatty baby who likes to coo and make lots of happy sounds. The time may not suit your baby. Maybe they prefer massage in the evening or during a nappy change. These are things parents needs to practice at home. Finding the right time and working out your baby’s favourite routine.
What do most parents like about your class ?
I think they would all say without doubt the social aspect. A forum where they can share their doubts, anxieties and their triumphs. This can include statements like he/she sleeps much better after their massage, or the colic is almost gone or that they simply feel more confident interacting with their baby. Research has shown that baby massage can help with preventing postnatal depression. Basically it fosters support networks, which are crucial for expatriate parents. The strokes are easy to learn and above all fun!
Tina Keogh is a fully qualified baby massage instructor and trained with The International Association of Infant Massage. www.IAIM.net, which was founded in 1972 by Vimala McClure and it, is practiced in 45 countries around the world. Tina is also a qualified antenatal teacher with the National Childbirth Trust in the UK and holds a license to practice on mainland Europe. Tina has been teaching childbirth preparation classes in The Hague for 4 years. If you want to know more about Tina visit her website www.greatexpectations.nl or call her on 06 506 34434.