I meant to write about this last week but I couldn’t decide if I wanted to post it here or over on my rarely ever used massage blog. I finally decided since I’m basically 90% retired from my massage career for the time being (I’ll return to it one day) so I can be a stay at home Mom for William, that this post belonged here with the memories and experiences of my new mommy life.
This year marks ten years that I’ve been a massage therapist (how am I old enough to say that?)and since the time I found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t wait for him to be born so I could massage him. I’d never actually taken an infant massage class even though I’d met plenty of facilitators and knew where I could get CEUs, but it always seemed too expensive and as I didn’t have my own child it just seemed weird learning how to tell parents what to do, without actually having any infant experience of my own. Even after becoming pregnant I still hadn’t considered taking a class. I had 10 years experience and access to YouTube, what did I need a class for?
But then my beautiful baby boy was born. Finally, the time to introduce him to the amazing power of my loving positive touch came….and my sweet, handsome, adorable son hated when I massaged him. Full out meltdowns when I tried to massage him after his baths. I was devastated. How could he dislike massage so much? Or maybe it was just mymassage he hated? Adults have therapist preferences, so perhaps babies do too? Either way it did nothing to ease my new mom anxieties. I stopped trying to massage him after the first two weeks and just stuck to bending and stretching his extremities and doing small range of motion exercises which he did seem to sort of like. Well, mostly I think he liked the legs done because it helped him release all those built up stinky farts…..but let’s go ahead pretend it’s because he enjoyed momma’s healing energy, shall we? We shall!
So fast forward to last week and I saw a post in a Facebook group I’m in (shout out to the Babymoon Inn mommas) about volunteers with babies being needed for an infant massage class. Whaaaaaat? But not only that, the instructor/facilitator taught a prenatal massage class I had taken 2 years ago. Can you say kismet? Obviously, I signed us up immediately. And bonus, I told my good friend, who is also a fellow LMT, and she signed up with her son as well. So it was sort of like a massage play date for us and the boys.
So the way the class works is the teachers instructing us are actually individuals who are getting their certification in infant massage instruction. They learn the amazing benefits of massage for babies and how to perform infant massage by practicing on dolls. Then once they’ve mastered this, they finish their training by teaching all they’ve learned to real parents with real babies. As volunteer parent/baby students, we were able to learn for free.
Before this class the only benefits I really knew were that infants who received massage were said to have lower rates of SIDS, and also massage would help with constipation and also colic and sleep. After class, I made this little graphic below of the massage benefits for infants based off the information in the class handout. I did a graphic instead of just typing out a list here because images are so easily shared on social media and I think it’s important that parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles know these amazing benefits so feel free to share this image across your social media accounts.
Old dogs can definitely learn new tricks and I learned so much at this class. Like for starters, at his age (he was 7 weeks) it’s very common for babies to not tolerate that much touch. It can be too over stimulating for them and often legs and tummy are about as much as they can stand when performing the full massage protocol we were given. So he’s probably not anti mommy’s touch; what a relief to hear. Another great tip for me was that a massage oil (not to be confused with essential oils which are NOT recommended for infants) such as Grapeseed is best for the Massage over lotions or creams and the Grapeseed oil which is good for the skin is also safe for babies who may chew or suck on body parts that have been massaged so you won’t have to worry if they ingest a little bit. I was using his nighttime lotion before this class. I typically perform therapeutic and deep tissue massage so oil is something I rarely ever used and now I feel dumb that I never considered changing the Massage medium for the baby. The best tip was just to follow baby’s cues. Listen and respond to his needs. If he needs a break, take it. If the room is too loud, too cold, too stimulating, make the adjustments.
William did great at this class. He actually made it through the legs, stomach and chest protocols before it became too much for him. This class was great and since taking it, William is enjoying our massage time more. I’ve also noticed that in just one week of massaging his legs he is doing more leg moving and squirming on his own and his leg ROM has increased.
To learn the amazing massage technique for baby like we did look for classes in your area. Our class was facilitated by TR Seminars. After participating as a volunteer, hubby and I have been talking I’m planning to save up for the certification class. I feel this class would be good for me not only professionally, but I think it would provide me a lot of personal fulfilment to know I’m helping families, which I believe additionally helps the community and the world. ❤