An Unexpected Benefit of Infant Massage
When we think about the benefits of infant massage we generally focus on those relating to baby’s health and development. But rarely do we think about the benefits for parents.
My attention was drawn to the beautiful hum of conversation, laced with sporadic bouts of laughter taking place in the adjacent room, as I sat checking emails and inhaling my lunch in preparation for the second half of my work day.
Almost three hours earlier I had facilitated an infant massage session (as part of the 5 week First Touch Program) in that same room, with a group of first-time mums and their babies. We had been over the massage element of the session and also had an engaging group discussion centred around the benefits of infant massage. And after the session finished, some of the mums had stayed on to feed their babies (or avoid waking their napping baby!) before getting on with the rest of their day.
Listening to these remaining mums openly share their new-mum experiences, discussing products/services/techniques that had made a positive difference in their world, was truly heart-warming. I realised in this moment, they were adding to their “village”. This is something I find remarkable, considering only three weeks earlier they met for the very first time, and the only thing they had in common was a beautiful baby and a desire to learn more about supporting their baby through infant massage.
With many new mums in a situation where they don’t have family or close friends in the same town, city or country, they can feel quite isolated very quickly. Being around other mums not only means experiences can be shared. It can also bring a new perspective and comfort in realising that they are not alone, others are going through similar things to them, nothing is perfect, and it’s ok. And at the same time, if it is not ok in their world, and they need support or assistance there is likely someone else in their mummy circles working to overcome similar hurdles too. There is much to be gained from positive interactions and sharing in conversation, after all women have delighted in coming together and talking things through for centuries!
Finding your tribe or your village as a new parent is not always easy. In addition to attending a First Touch Infant Massage Program, you could try some other group activities or meet-ups such as mum and bub exercise classes including yoga or pilates, rhyme-time sessions at the local library or search online for mum and bub groups in your local area. You need to find a group you feel comfortable with. You might not hit it off with the first group or meet-up you attend, but that doesn’t mean that every mummy group will be the same. So be sure to try a few before deciding that this ‘mummy-group-thing’ is not for you.
Over the years I have had many mums form friendships through attending my infant massage course. They go on to catch-up and enjoy each other’s company and support long after the program ends. The First Touch Program is the only nationally accredited infant massage program in Australia googletest. It has been specifically trialled and researched and provides a variety of documented benefits for parents and their babies. New courses start every 5-6 weeks approximately. Check HERE for upcoming course dates.