Ever since I was a little girl it was apparent that all I wanted to be was a mother, I decided that until I was lucky enough to become one I would do the next best thing, I’d become a Nanny.
While studying for my diploma I was introduced to something called Infant Massage, this was something I’d never heard of before but I was intrigued, even though I was learning on a plastic doll. I felt rather silly talking to this doll and trying to connect to it through my studies, but I was curious to see how these techniques would work on a child in my care.
At the time I only learned the basics, but that was enough for me to use on children in my care. Over the years though, I saw bright eyes get even brighter, and in time I would notice the excitement a baby would exhibit when massage time was approaching. I grew strong bonds with the children who were in my care, especially through Infant Massage and most of them are still very much in my life today.
I eventually decided to take my massage therapy skill to another level and I trained to become a certified Infant Massage Instructor. Here I was again back to feeling like a twit talking to a plastic doll. Moreover, I was of course spending long hours studying and researching as well. However, once I began teaching, it was all worth it, especially to see new mothers bonding with their babies. It was rewarding to see their confidence grow dramatically when they received such a warm reception from their new bundles of joy.
I also began teaching parents with older children and I loved when I would get calls a week later to say that their problematic four year olds’ temper tantrums had dramatically improved. I also loved hearing how they had set routines for massage before bedtime. As a result, their children were sleeping in later in the mornings.
Helping stressed parents cope with problems such as erratic sleeping patterns, Colic, low birth weight babies, as well as other issues was the reason why I wanted to teach these techniques in the first place. Putting it quite simply I wanted to help.
Infant Massage has been hailed as a Hollywood craze by some, but in reality these exact same techniques have been used by other cultures for thousands of years. There really isn’t anything new about it. Other cultures such as in India begin with a cleansing massage the day a baby is born. They do this to enhance circulation, expel toxins and aid the baby’s digestion. For centuries Infant Massage has also been used in Asian and Pacific Island cultures because it is believed to be both physically and spiritually beneficial. To this day it is also used in Hawaiian and Maori culture (New Zealand). I know about this from first hand experience, as I am Maori myself. For our culture, touch is a very spiritual thing.
There is a tremendous amount of information about Infant Massage being beneficial for our children, however people should not forget that it is also beneficial for the parents too. This is especially true for mothers showing signs of Post Natal Depression.
Using these techniques have even assisted teenage mothers on improving their bonding and interaction with their children.
Fathers also gain confidence in learning about Infant Massage and often they are even more eager to learn about it as they go through the learning experience. I have seen and known fathers who have dragged their partners along for their Infant Massage lessons.
Aside from all the wonderful health benefits that come from Infant Massage, I think the most beautiful result of all has to be the enhanced bond it creates between the child and their caregiver.
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