Baby Massage & You

12th Jul 2013
Baby Massage & You

At the end of this month Kids 1st Darlington is holding a Baby Yoga course with Helen Rondo from MY Baby & Me. Here Helen shares her first experience of baby massage and how it benefits mummy, daddy and baby!
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Thirteen years ago, as an exhausted, stressed and, if I’m being truly honest, slightly sceptical new mum, I walked into my first baby massage session. Little did I realise how this wonderful new skill would shape both my short and long term future. But it has and I am so grateful to the health visitor who suggested massage may be of help in soothing my very unsettled, colicky, non sleeping daughter.

If truth be told I remember little of those sessions. I attended weekly, learnt massage techniques that seemed to instantly sooth my baby, and made friendships that remain to this day. The massage sessions continued at home long after the course had finished and continued to help my daughter through those long evenings spent pacing with colic, through the application of various lotions and potions to help her eczema  and numerous breastfeeding hiccups. I couldn’t tell you why it worked – but I knew it did!

After the birth of my son I rediscovered baby massage. This time I was looking for fun things to do, I went to the classes and listened to the course leader describing the benefits of massage for mothers and babies and, most importantly, I observed those effects in my son. He loved his massage, he was the baby who lay and chilled out for an hour, all the while chatting with me (and anyone else who would listen). After the sessions, both he and I felt better, slept better and were in a happy, contented bubble! Massage became part of our lives – I massaged him, his daddy massaged him and delightfully, his sister massaged him. We all did it slightly differently, we did it at different times of the day but we all enjoyed it and benefited from it. The bond between my children, despite the age difference, is magical and I’m sure baby massage helped them establish this unique relationship.

So, how and why does baby massage have such a positive effect on babies and parents alike? Here’s the science bit….

Baby massage is an ancient tradition that has traditionally been practised in many cultures. In recent years, recognising the positive benefits of touch on infants and children, researchers have been investigating the physiological responses to touch and massage.

The skin is the first organ to develop in the womb and as a result, when an infant is born, touch is the most developed of all the senses. Skin to skin contact has been proven to stimulate the release of endorphins, prolactin and oxytocin (the happy hormones), whilst inhibiting the production of cortisol (the stress hormone). This response happens in both the giver of the massage and the receiver, resulting in a heightened sense of contentment in both, this is especially beneficial in helping parents overcome those stressful early days of parenthood. Baby massage has also been shown to lessen the effects of post natal depression in some mums. Other benefits of touch include improved feeding, better sleep patterns in infants, fewer digestive problems, a stronger immune system and, reportedly, better understanding and communication between parents and baby.

Helen Rondo

MY Baby & Me
Each Monday, from 29 July you can try baby massage classes with My Baby & Me at Kids 1st Darlington.

The sessions will be take place  between 9.30am – 10.30am within the nursery. Cupcakes and coffee will be served after the classes in the nursery dining room.

This event is open to all parents and babies from Darlington but places are limited. To book a place for you and your baby at this new event please ring: 01325 380 199