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How Baby Massage can help you and your baby - the incredible benefits I have seen

Katherine Whitby | Registered Paediatric Nurse | Health Visitor | Baby Massage Instructor | Mummy of Two | Founder of Baby Steps

Little girl sat packing suitcase for her holiday listening to music on her pink headphones

Unlocking the Benefits of Baby Massage: A Guide for Parents

I qualified as a Certified Infant Massage Instructor with the International Association of Infant Massage back in 2006. I was working as a Health Visitor in London at the time and was thrilled to be able to offer the course to the parents and babies on my caseload.

Little did I realise I would be absolutely blown away not only by the benefits for the baby but also the parent or carer giving the massage. Ever since it has been a special part of my work and I see the magic it brings time and time again - relaxation, creating special memories with your baby and the amazing ways it helps physical difficulties such as wind, colic, constipation and sleep.

Baby massage is a practice that has gained popularity in recent years for its numerous benefits but has been part of many cultures for centuries. I love telling the story in week 1 about how the International Association of Infant Massage was established back in the 1970s by Vilama McClure, following her working in an orphanage in India and seeing the benefits.

In this blog post, we'll explore the world of baby massage, its origins, and the remarkable advantages it offers to both you and your baby. I was lucky enough to experience this with both my babies and although they are much older now they still love a bit of massage which is super special to have that connection as they hit teens and they like to give a massage back - that’s the goal!

Baby massage, breathing techniques at the Baby Steps Studio

What is Baby Massage?

Baby massage is a gentle, soothing practice where parents or caregivers use their hands to massage their baby's body. It involves a combination of strokes and techniques designed to promote relaxation, bonding, and overall well-being for your baby. This ancient tradition has been passed down through generations and is now gaining recognition in the modern world.

The benefits of baby massage

  • Promotes Bonding: One of the most significant benefits of baby massage is the strengthening of the parent-child bond. The physical touch and close interaction during massage help create a deep emotional connection between you and your baby.

  • Improved Sleep: Many parents find that regular baby massage can lead to improved sleep patterns for their little ones. The calming effects of massage help babies relax, making it easier for them to fall asleep and stay asleep for longer periods. I have seen time and time again how the deep breathing we do to help the parents relax in class has the most amazing effect in relaxing the baby too and so encourages relaxation and sleep.

  • Relieves Colic and Gas: Baby massage can be particularly helpful in reducing symptoms of colic and gas. Gentle abdominal massage can help relieve discomfort and aid in the digestion process, reducing episodes of fussiness.

  • Enhances Cognitive Development: Studies suggest that babies who receive regular massage may have improved cognitive development. The sensory stimulation during massage can contribute to enhanced brain development.

  • Stimulates Growth: The gentle pressure applied during massage can stimulate blood circulation and enhance the release of growth hormones, potentially leading to better physical growth and development.

  • Strengthens Muscles: Baby massage helps in the development of your baby's muscles and coordination. The gentle kneading and stretching motions promote healthy muscle tone and flexibility.

  • Reduces Stress: Just like adults, babies can experience stress. Massage has a calming effect on the nervous system, reducing stress hormones and promoting a sense of well-being. I see this in every single class, it’s just incredible. The difference in the parent and baby to walking into the class to when they leave!

Babies and mummies at the baby steps studio for massage class

  • Boosts Immunity: Touch is a powerful way to boost your baby's immune system. Regular massage may help increase the production of immune-boosting cells, making your baby more resilient to illnesses.

  • Enhances Skin Health: Massaging your baby with natural oils can improve their skin health. It helps maintain moisture, prevents dryness, and may even help with conditions like cradle cap.

  • Supports Digestion and Relieves Constipation: In addition to easing colic and gas, baby massage can help regulate your baby's bowel movements. Gentle abdominal strokes can promote healthy digestion. We have had many fantastic results with baby’s passing poo which they have been struggling with after class!

  • Aids in Teething Discomfort: Massaging your baby's gums during the teething phase can alleviate some of the discomfort associated with this milestone.I just love the facial strokes. They are so calming and relaxing and the bonus of helping with teething is so good.

  • Aids in Relieving Colds: The facial stokes have the added benefit of helping relieve discomfort in the sinuses. Particularly helpful as babies’ can’t blow their noses!

  • Emotional Development: Through massage, babies learn to recognize and respond to different emotions. It's an excellent opportunity to teach them about feelings in a safe and loving environment.

It is really important to follow your baby’s lead with Baby Massage. It may be the time of day you think will be good is not actually when they are ready. We cover all of this in class.

Why choose my Baby Massage & Relaxation course?

Katherine Whitby at the baby steps studio, massage classes

Come weekly for 5 weeks, with your baby to the cosy, calm cocoon of Baby Steps studio in the woods (GU26 6DG). Feel your breathing relax as you walk across the grass & enter the welcoming Studio filled with calming music. Everyone has their own chair, mat, blankets and cushions to make you feel at home.

You will enjoy breathing exercises and meditation giving you the chance to catch your breath. Share special time with your baby as you learn the strokes which can help in so many ways. And then we will have a supportive cuppa in a small group where you can share the highs and lows of being a new Mum. Each week you will have treats from the garden, Neals Yard Remedies and something yummy! Frequently mums say the class is their favourite part of the week.

You can also enjoy this course in your home with friends or just for you, 1:1 appointments or online.

Baby massage is a beautiful way to nurture your baby's physical and emotional development while strengthening the special bond between you. The benefits of baby massage extend far beyond the immediate relaxation it provides, contributing to your baby's overall well-being and growth. So, go ahead, give it a try, and enjoy the precious moments you'll share with your little one during this very special practice.

I would be so thrilled to share the journey with you.

My Baby Massage and Relaxation course starting this month is fully booked but I have places still for the next one starting on October 31st. 5 weeks on Tuesdays 10.30am-12 at the Baby Steps Studio. Click here for more information.

Otherwise I would be delighted to support you at home. I can come and share the amazing benefits of Baby Massage with you and your baby and give you the opportunity for relaxation for you with breathing exercises and meditation, plus Neals Yard Remedies treats.


Do follow me on social media for more support...

I can support you at home, in my beautiful Studio in the woods or online with courses, bespoke support and events. Click on the buttons below for more information.

Baby steps  child and baby first aid courses at the studio with Katherine Whitby
Baby steps  child and baby first aid courses in your home with Katherine Whitby
Baby steps child and baby first aid courses online in your own time with Katherine Whitby

I can’t wait to support you and your little one,

Always here for you

Katherine xx

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