Baby massage: more than just a routine!
If you’ve heard anything about baby massage, you’ll probably think that it’s a routine you can learn and it will help your baby to sleep! Well, sort of ……
I’m a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI) and I trained with the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM), essentially the gold standard of baby massage. When a CIMI teaches you baby massage, you learn so much more than a routine.
First off, we teach the massage routine in stages – we never go in all at once on the first session teaching the whole body massage. Usually, babies are around six-eight weeks when they first come although I have worked with babies from four weeks. If the baby has never had a massage before, it’s too much for them to deal with to suddenly have a whole body massage.
Week 1, we teach respect and ask permission before we begin any massage. A CIMI will teach you massage for the legs first – because babies are used to their legs being handled through nappy changes. Subsequently, each week the strokes learned and practiced the previous weeks will be revisited along with the new strokes.
Week 2 will introduce the tummy massage and the separate colic routine.
Week 3 is chest and arms.
Week 4 is face and back.
Week 5 is putting the whole body routine into practice.
During all of this, you’ll learn how to understand your baby’s communication cues, their cries and their facial expressions
Newborn babies display instinctive cues that help to communicate whether they are ready to play (engagement cues), ready to eat (hunger cues), are getting ready to poo, are tired or overstimulated. Baby massage can help you to understand your baby’s cues and respond to them.
During the five week course with a CIMI, you’ll also learn tips and techniques to use on your baby so you can continue to practice massage as they grow.
How does baby massage help?
Baby massage benefits your baby by:
Helping your baby to feel securely attached
Helping your baby to feel more loved, valued and respected
Reducing crying and emotional distress
Increased levels of relaxation and longer sleep
Development of body awareness and co-ordination
Relief from wind, colic, constipation and teething discomfort
As I said, baby massage is much more than just a routine!