Tag Archives: benefits

Baby led massage class. A six week block introducing the art of baby massage.

I have chosen to write about a recent experience of baby massage. As a new family of three, we have been attending a baby massage class each Sunday morning for the past five weeks. I wish to share my experience of this class with you.

Baby massage was not something that I had heard of ,nor looked into. I didn’t realise just how many benefits surrounds baby massage – for both the parent and baby, until we began to explore massage through a tutor taught class.

22277925_179682802578709_3576382154566795264_n The six week block of massage class was gifted to us by a friend who was not able to attend. We are so very grateful of this and cannot explain just how much it helped us as a new family still finding our feet. The class had me excited each Sunday morning, we all look forward to it. Every week is new and a learning experience. At home we continue to work with massages at home throughout the week.

There are so many benefits of baby massage, benefits that I was unaware of until further investigation and exploring through each weekly session. This includes;

  • Soothing baby
  • Aiding digestion
  • Improving circulation
  • Help with teething
  • Bonding

Baby massage class was taken as a block of six individual, ninety minute sessions held locally at the home of our tutor. A cosy and comfortable environment where everyone was made to feel welcome and encouraged to make themselves feel at home. As a family, this made us feel at ease. On our first session we were given a bottle of baby massage oil to use during each session. The oil used was organic sunflower oil, safe to use on newborn skin and at each visit we were faced with a instruction guide that had the new strokes noted down to refer to. This made the class very easy to follow, we had no issues with keeping up. Saying that, the classes were never rushed and the tutor ran through at a steady pace which would allow each participant to keep up.

There was no judgement, we were mixed with another couple and three Mothers who frequented the class. The group who we attended with were all so lovely, it was great being able to share experiences with other new parents. We learned a lot from the others in our class and took on board some helpful tips and tricks that were suggested over the weeks. The room was an open book and no question was silly.

During our course of massage, we were taught the proper techniques to ensure a thorough and safe massage experience for baby. Over the weeks we learned how to massage each area of the body and what the benefits of massage were for each body part. Eleanor particularly enjoys the leg and stomach massage. I think with the stomach massage it really does help aid with digestion and release blockages. Digestion is something which does trouble Eleanor quite a lot but with the interference and help from regular massage/medication, this does seem to ease up and allow room for relief.

21688753_342667929508026_8086493141336588288_n The first massage session explored the art of massage and what this can aid. Throughout the running of the course, we slowly worked from the legs up to the face using the correct techniques required for a fulfilling massage. During each class we would learn to introduce new strokes to carry out on a different part of the body.

Each massaged limb is matched with a playful rhyme to sing along to which added to the experience and helped with remembering the correct strokes. The rhymes also helped with getting everyone to join in and have a little fun.

 (Who’s that tickling my tummy? Is it a caterpillar? No, it’s my mummy!)

I allowed for Euan to carry out each massage on Eleanor as a bonding aid. As I nurse her alone, we thought that it would be great for Euan to take some alone time with Eleanor to bond and carry out the massage. I was taught the massage strokes on a doll which meant that I didn’t miss out. I could still learn and practice all of the moves that were being taught each week.

As you can imagine, trying to carry out a  bodily massage on a newborn is no easy task. There were sessions where Eleanor along with the other babies was just not in the mood and grumbled her way through. I found that I spent a lot of my time in the class having to nurse her, after all, she is one hungry newborn and we would have never expected a full attention span. The time frame that Eleanor would allow for massage was small but certainly worthwhile and on the good days, we would almost get a full massage done before she would become restless and kick up a little fuss. She has been a little gem throughout.

The class was baby led, and our tutor was so understanding . Each parent in the class was on the same boat and each baby had their moments. Each session was different and unpredictable. It was lovely to be part of a group that were understanding of the position that you are in, we didn’t ever feel alone.

22277435_120900745250020_6157059970727673856_n A nice touch to the class was that at he beginning and end of each session there was time allowed for a small group discussion and for parents to share their experiences and ask any questions. I found that this was great and we often come away from class with reassurance as well as a handful of little tips/tricks that we could introduce into our home life.

Each class had room for a break mid session, refreshments were at hand and time was allowed to feed and change your baby if required. The break was much welcome and merged well into the session.

Our fifth session of massage class was spent at a local photography studio. Photographs were taken all through the session to capture the essence f baby massage in all it’s glory. A nice touch and a reminder of the class experience. Baby massage has taught us so many techniques and life long lessons which we will continue to practice from the comfort of home.

The benefits from having attending the class have shined through and I certainly feel that after a massage session no matter how little massaging is carried out, Eleanor is super chilled out for the rest of the afternoon. In fact, after a class, all three of us are relaxed and often spend the afternoon snuggled up on the sofa together!

Overall, I am very thankful that we had the opportunity to attend this block of massage classes and so grateful to our tutor for her help and patience. It has been a fab experience for all of us, one that I would recommend and encourage any parents of a newborn to experience for themselves. Give it a try – the benefits are endless. I feel this class has really helped me to feel comfortable with my baby and the outside environment. I have learned skills that will stay with me and gained a positive mindset surrounding my baby and this whole new lifestyle that I am still very much getting to grips with.

I cannot thank baby massage enough for the experience that it has awarded us and allowed us to share as a new family.

 

Keren x

 

Please Sir, may I have some more? The struggle with newborn feeding on demand.

Since having discovered I was pregnant, the one thing I really wished to do, exclusively for the first six months of my baby’s life was to breastfeed. I don’t know where this idea had initially drawn from, I, nor any of my siblings were breastfed and I didn’t openly know of any babies who were. Perhaps the media had a big impact on my decision to breastfeed and subconsciously it was an idea planted in my mind from reading articles, hearing news stories or seeing glamorous images of new mums feeding their babies in the glossy magazines. Perhaps the midwife swayed me with all of the bragging and the encouragement surrounding the topic. Regardless, it was something which I wanted to do from the very beginning and can happily say started off on a good note.

I’ll tell you, there is nothing glamorous about breast feeding, not behind the scenes anyway! Hell, when Euan proposed, I was standing in the kitchen and drying myself off from profoundly sweating – which apparently goes hand in hand with breastfeeding, Yep, that’s one the midwives kept quiet. I also have to change my top several times in a day for milk spills and baby spit up. Real glam..

I suppose what really had encouraged myself to begin breastfeeding were the health benefits and to develop a strong bond with my daughter, I felt that this was the best option for feeding my baby. The benefits seem endless.. protection from infection, building a strong bond, a formula designed specifically to my baby’s requirements. Not to mention the health benefits it has for myself; lower risk of certain cancers and a reduced risk of osteoporosis. It seemed like a win, win and the first time I was given Eleanor for nursing, she immediately had taken to it and found the perfect latch. This gave me the drive I had needed to continue to feed.

All was good and well, however.. nobody warned me of the effects of cluster feeding and what this meant for me. A one time independent woman had now become unable to make herself a cup of hot tea, or even use the bathroom without having a baby attached to her boob. After a few weeks of feeding, I have actually mastered the challenge of opening the biscuit tin and making the tea with one hand, baby in the other. This is a life saver during those late night/early morning feeds.

I didn’t know about cluster feeding and was never made aware of this until I began to do my own research after reaching my wits end with the round the clock feeds, these could take hours and would often leave me feeling drained and inhumane, especially come 4AM and I would still be awake, having not yet gone to bed, sat around the kitchen table, nursing. Surely, I couldn’t go on like this.

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What exactly is cluster feeding and what did this mean? Breastfed newborns feed often  – up to twelve times in a 24 hour period because breast milk is more easily digested than formula. A Baby’s stomach is the size of a small marble when first born and needs to be replenished with frequent feedings. Cluster feeding happens when babies want to feed more often, in a condensed period of time. In the first week, Eleanor cluster fed for at least three hours a night, every night. I have been told this will pass. This stage of newborn nursing is frustrating and exhausting but I have faith it won’t last forever. I just have to push through and make myself comfy for all of those late night feeding sessions.

I find that I don’t often have the luxury of sitting down. Eleanor does tend to be unhappy unless she is held upright and can have a fussy time during the day’s. I usually spend most of my time with my newborn attached to my breast unable to even take five minutes out from my day to have alone time. As I write this, I have Eleanor on my lap. I understand that it is comforting for her and that she is still so young that she needs the comfort of being held close, however a little space would be nice from time to time. It does begin to take it’s toll and become lonely sitting awake through the nights nursing her and spending the days unable to do much for myself due to having to feed on demand. I get as far as a shower; drying my hair, applying make up, choosing a nice outfit to wear.. that is all put on hold. I am ensured however, that this will pass.. I just have to see it through and break the barriers to get to a stage that I need to be with her nursing.

Knowing that this phase shall pass and that Eleanor is getting the benefit of milk specifically suited to meet her daily requirements and needs so that she can thrive, helps me get through the marathon feeding sessions and deal with the lack of a normal sleep routine. Although, what exactly is a routine with a newborn? I’d like to hear from any new mum who has a set daily routine that they follow. It just doesn’t happen… at least not in this household.

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For now, the knowledge that this stage will get better and knowing that I have a happy, healthy and content baby is good enough for me to get by. I’ll get a good night sleep again, one day.