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The benefits to new Mums and babies through the power of touch:

 

Baby massage brings many physical and psychological benefits to both Mum and baby. 

 

Massaging your baby releases tension, communicates love, encourages bonding and helps you understand your baby’s needs. 

 

Skin to skin

 

 During skin to skin contact you release the hormone oxytocin. This is often referred to as the love hormone because of how it makes you feel. It’s a powerful hormone that even plays a role in childbirth! It makes you feel calm, relaxed, happy and counteracts the stress hormone cortisol
 If you are breastfeeding it can help boost milk supply 
 Stimulation of the skin can also help to get rid of dead skin cells and improve circulation 
 Both of your bodies will produce the chemical serotonin which contributes to wellbeing and happiness 
 Mums experiencing postnatal depression are recommended to do baby massage, due to the release of the happy hormones and the bonding you experience together 

 

Sensory stimulation and development

 

 As you perform the act of massaging your baby, they will benefit from the closeness of you. Feeling your touch, the transfer of your scent onto them, hearing your voice is soothing for your baby as you sing and talk to them during massage
 Your baby will also be watching your movements closely and taking in all of your features and the rhythm of your movement 
 You create a unique bonding and nurturing environment that your baby will thrive in 

 

The science bit: 

 

 Massaging your baby speeds up the process of myelination of the brain and the nervous system. This is the myelin sheath, which is a coating around each nerve. It protects the nervous system and helps speed up messages transmitted from the brain to the rest of the body. This coating is not complete at birth and stimulation of skin cells speeds this process up
 Studies have shown that baby massage can help premature babies to gain weight
 Many hospitals now encourage massage and touch therapy for babies that have to stay in hospital for various procedures. This is proven to help reduce stress levels and increase oxygen levels
 Can help with colic, trapped wind, constipation, teething, sinuses and many more common symptoms experienced by young babies 

 

What to expect in a class: 

 

 You can buy many books or follow YouTube videos to learn the strokes, but if you prefer to enjoy learning by attending a course here is a little insight for what to expect
 Most courses are spread over 4-6 weeks for 1 hour a week, each week your Instructor will introduce different body parts and build up to the full body routine in the last session
 You will be able to watch your Instructor perform the strokes on a demo doll, while you practise at the same time on your baby
 Each benefit for the particular body parts the strokes are applied will be explained, to help you understand why we do them
 You’ll likely be with a small number of other Mums with babies of a similar age
 It is best to attend classes when your baby is 6 weeks old onwards and ideally before they start crawling! This is simply because it makes it easier for you to practise everything before they start moving!   
 It is completely baby led, stopping for cuddle breaks and feeds as you need to, stopping any strokes you think they don’t appear to enjoy

 

 

Incorporating massage into your routine at home:

 

 You can continue massage long into your child’s life, my daughter is almost 3 years old now and loves her massages after her bath
 Each night I choose different body parts to focus on (as toddlers generally don’t stay still for long!) 
 Can be used before or after a bath, depending on your window of opportunity. Be aware not to over stimulate incase they are too tired after their bath 
 Massage can be a nice way to transition from busy day time stimulation to a relaxed bedtime routine before their bath
 You can use massage after a bath to apply their lotion or use coconut/ sunflower oil to nourish their skin and help relax your baby
 As long as your baby is awake, alert, happy and showing signs of enjoyment you can massage any time of the day! It can be great to do a little foot massage during a feed or having some playtime 

 

Most importantly, enjoy your special time with your baby and adding in baby massage can help enhance physical and mental wellbeing for you both.