H is for healthy
Baby massage is healthy for body and mind. The action of massage promotes circulation which helps vital hormones and nutrients to move around the body in the blood. The oxygenated blood is moved to muscles and tissues helping to maintain homeostasis. Spending quality time with your baby is both relaxing and stimulating and good for positive mental health for you both. It calms the mind and can be a great way to spend time with other parents and carers.
I is for Intuition
I am a great believer in ‘intuition’ or ‘going with your gut. However, becoming a parent can be scary, stressful and unnerving at times but don’t worry, most of us face this and not only in the early days – wait until they are teenagers! Before you can ‘go with your instincts’ you need to get to know your little bundle of joy. This is not just for first time parents either, because you can almost guarantee number two will be so very different in personality. Baby massage workshops offer opportunity for you to slow down and get to know your little one. Learning their cues takes time and getting to know what each cry means is another thing all together. One to one time at baby massage allows you to focus solely on each other – don’t forget that your baby is also learning what to expect from you and therefore, in the early weeks expect it to be a little up and down, hit and miss. This is all completely normal.
J is for joints
During baby massage we rotate and flex baby’s joints. This brings oxygenated blood to the area and helps to develop joint flexibility and proprioceptive awareness (more about this later).
K is for Kangaroo care
Kangaroo care is a method of caring for stabilised low-weight or premature babies outside an incubator. As the name suggests, it involves strapping your baby to your chest, with skin-to-skin contact between the baby and parent helping to maintain a healthy body temperature. Babies who experience this beneficial skin to skin contact tend to gain weight faster and develop quicker. It is so beneficial that some hospitals have kangaroo care volunteers who will hold babies skin to skin in the absence of a parent or main carer. No that’s a job I would love!
L is for Language Development
Baby massage alone is not what helps to develop language in babies, but the action of baby massage means there is good eye-contact, talking, singing and observing each other. Babies learn from you and how you act and react to their cues. Poke your tongue out at a newborn baby and they will copy you – its true! Babies carry out what is known as ‘serve and return’. You talk to them verbally or non-verbally, and they will talk back with babbles, facial expressions or movements. It is recommended that you allow up to 10 seconds for a response which can seem like a long time hanging! These interactions shape and build your babies brain in a positive way, setting good foundations for future learning and emotional regulation.
M is for Myelination
Myelination is the process during which a white, fatty substance called the myelin sheath forms an electrically insulating layer over the nerve fibres, over and between the neurons and synapses (connectors) within the brain which are responsible for transmitting electrical signals throughout the body via the central nervous system. Massage helps the process of myelination because massage greatly improves circulation around the body. In turn this helps fatty acids to move around and create more myelin where required. Indirectly, regular massage can help to develop or reawaken sensory receptors which results in better proprioceptive awareness. A really interesting clip from Dr Dan Siegel where he talks about myelination.
N is for newborn nurture
From the spring of 2020, Listening Touch Therapies will be running a Newborn Nurture workshops for perspective and new parents. These workshops will be delivered by myself, Lisa Constable along with other highly experienced professionals and cover areas such as;
· Keeping well – you and your health
· Sleeping arrangements
· Feeding advice
· Time management for parents
· Baby massage
1-1 Newborn nurture workshops also available.