Infant massage group sessions are a great first outing for baby and parent. In each class you work directly on your baby to learn and practice various infant massage techniques. Each week allows enough time for learning, conversation and practice. This infant massage workshop series is intended to increase confidence, equip parents with new knowledge on how they can care for their baby, and create opportunities for bonding.
The curriculum you will be taught has been developed by Vimala McClure the founder of the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) and is based on a combination of Swedish and Indian massage techniques, simple yoga, and basic reflexology.
WHY SHOULD I MASSAGE MY BABY?
Did you know the benefits of taking an IAIM Infant Massage class go beyond just learning the massage routine? The IAIM infant massage program promotes nurturing touch, communication, and secure attachment between parent and baby.
The benefits of infant massage for baby can be summed up into four categories: interaction, stimulation, relaxation, and relief.
Massaging your baby promotes bonding; it contains every element of the bonding process. It promotes verbal and nonverbal communication between the two of you. Your baby receives undivided attention from you; and feels respected and loved.
Infant massage aids in the development of your baby's circulatory, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems. It aids in sensory integration, helping your baby learn how their body feels and what its limits are. Massaging your baby helps make connections between neurons in the brain, which helps develop their nervous system. It also aids the generation of muscular development and tone, and contributes to their mind/body awareness.
Regular infant massage improves sleep, increases flexibility, and regulates behavioural states. It reduces stress and hypersensitivity. Massaging your baby creates higher levels of anti-stress hormones and promotes an improved ability to self-calm. It teaches your baby to relax in the face of stress.
Infant massage helps with gas and colic, constipation and elimination. muscular tension, and teething discomfort. It also helps with growing pains, organizes the nervous system, relieves physical and psychological tension, and soften skin. It helps release physical and emotional tension, balances oxygen levels, and provides a sense of security.
WHAT IS THE CLASS FORMAT?
Each class is approximately 60-minutes for a total of 5-sessions which gives babies and parents enough time to integrate the massage process. In addition to learning massage techniques, it is a great opportunity to meet other parents, socialize, share opinions, learn from each other, and gain confidence.
Below you can find the week-by-week breakdown of course content.
In our first session, parents will practice relaxation techniques, asking your baby permission to massage them and comfortable positioning for massaging your baby. Then we dive into the learning the strokes for the legs and back. The theory points that will be covered are: the types of oils used for massage; the background of infant massage and IAIM; best conditions for massaging; and, the best baby behavioural state for infant massage.
In the second session, parents will learn the stomach strokes and colic routine. We will explore the many ways babies communicate through cues/signals so that you will learn to recognize them and be able to respond to them in a way that supports your baby's needs.
The third session covers the strokes for the chest and arms, you will learn about the newborn reflexes that can be elicited by touch and positioning. I will help you to recognize when a reaction is due to a reflex being elicited or disengagement cue.
The fourth session covers the strokes face and back. You will also learn the tools and ideas for adapting the massage routine suit your child as they grow into crawlers all the way to adolescences.
The fifth and final session you learn about gentle movements, these movements gently stretch baby's arms and legs, massage the stomach and pelvis and align the spine. Be gentle and have fun with them, incorporating songs, rhymes and games.
WHAT AGE CAN I START MASSAGING MY BABY?
Introducing touch can be started soon after birth! Start with skin-to-skin care, this involves placing your baby on your chest to facilitate close contact between you and baby. You can gradually introduce back and leg strokes and then involve other parts of the baby's body. By following your baby's cue, looking for signs of being quiet and alert, you can begin massage during the first few weeks after birth and then gradually develop a nurturing routine that will last a life time.
CAN BOTH PARENTS ATTEND INFANT MASSAGE CLASSES?
Yes! Having both parents participate in infant massage gives your baby a chance to bond with each parent in his/her own way. Fathers and mothers often develop different styles and unique ways to interact with their babies, and these classes are a great opportunity for both parents to form a life-long bond with their child.
IS THIS CLASS SAFE FOR MY CHILD WITH SPECIAL NEEDS?
As the parent you are the expert of your child and know what is best! That being said I always recommend checking with your child's healthcare provider before attending an infant massage class to discuss if it is suitable or not. Participating in an infant massage class is a great opportunity for parents to focus on communication and relationship with their baby through nurturing touch; as your instructor I will support you in a way that teaches you recognize and respond to baby's cues when they have had enough, and assist you in making adaptions to the strokes to suit your baby's particular need.
WHAT KIND OF OIL DO WE USE?
A high-quality, unscented, cold-pressed vegetable oil.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO CLASS?
Along with your normal diaper bag items, bring an extra towel or blanket that you don't mind getting oil on and a pillow either for you to sit on or to prop you baby up.