It’s great for Mums too…
When we think of baby massage most of us probably instantly think about the advantages for the baby; promoting a healthy digestive system and therefore supporting weight gain; easing tummy discomforts common with young babies including colic, constipation and trapped wind; as well as teaching babies how to embrace being in a relaxed state (the state needed for sleep!!!)
Whilst all of these benefits can be achieved when practising massage regularly, you may not have realised that baby massage is not just for the babies, it can have a whole heap of benefits for us mums too.
- Learning a new skill. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to add another tool to their ‘ways to settle a distressed baby’ toolkit?! That’s just what baby massage does, it equips you with the knowledge and skills to use massage to soothe and settle your little one, and whilst massage comes with no guarantees, the science does back up the theory that when practised regularly it can release endorphins (those little happy hormones!) and reduce the stress hormone cortisol, and in turn promote a sense of well-being and calm. (Happy baby = happy mummy!)
- Quality Interactions. It can sound a bit patronising to say that massage helps you to bond with your baby, you will naturally, unknowingly be doing this every second of every day anyway. What a baby massage class does is it takes away all outside distractions, tv’s, phones, ALL those visitors, allowing you to relax and focus on your baby, learn how to read their cues and enjoy them through spending quality time together.
- Relieve stress. Touch is a two-way communication. During baby massage oxytocin (another one of those feel good hormones, also sometimes called the love hormone) is released in both babies and parent. This means that it is not just your baby that will feel the positive calming effects, you too will get that feel good kick you need to remind you just how wonderful the bond between you and your baby really is, and making all that sleep deprivation somehow seem worthwhile. ☺
- You build a network of mums in your local area all with babies of a similar age, all experiencing the same joys, anxieties and worries as you! When you arrive 20 minutes late because of a nappy explosion just as you were about to leave the house, they will get you. That small white patch of sicky dribble on your shoulder? They will get that too. The overwhelming feeling of worry over absolutely everything, is my baby feeding enough/sleeping enough,/pooing enough? Are they too hot/too cold? Am I picking them up too much/not enough? It has a name, it’s known as mum guilt, and yes your new-found mum network will get this too.
- Confidence. Before having children myself I never realised just how much your confidence could be knocked, especially in those early days when that mum guilt is mixed in with lack of sleep as you embark on your new role of bringing a brand new human into the world, keeping them alive and actually helping them thrive (no pressure!). Baby massage will help you regain your focus. No-one knows your baby better than you, you are tuned in to their every cue and you have already achieved so much. You have made it up and out of the house to your (often first) baby group, you have survived car journeys, feeding and changing away from home and faced all the public attention that comes with having a newborn. You’ve done it and your reward for doing it are points 1-4; a brand new skill backed up with knowledge and understanding that will come in pretty handy as you continue your journey with your little one. A deeper than you ever thought possible love for your baby as you understand them and all of their little cues, in turn reducing your own stress levels and giving you a chance to relax, surrounded in an environment of other mums that genuinely want to hear about you and your baby because it is also their favourite subject of conversation too. It is for this reason that time is built into our baby massage classes for relaxation, coffee and cake and a good old natter, with some of our mums suggesting that this element of the course is more effective than any therapy session!
So with all of these benefits for the mums, along with the vast evidence based benefits for babies that I haven’t even scratched the surface with in this article, a baby massage course gives the perfect start for mother and baby to grow together.
A Guest Blog from Katie White
Katie from Popsydolly is a qualified baby massage and baby yoga instructor, coming from a background of child development, management and lecturing. She is a Cheltenham mum herself, with 1 year old twin girls and loves meeting and connecting other mums and their babies in the local area. She runs her classes from The Strand in Cheltenham and is also set to return to running classes in Gloucester soon. Find Popsydolly on Facebook and Instagram with a website coming soon.