by guest blogger and teacher Michelle Egan
Hi my name is my Michelle Egan and I’ve been teaching baby massage for 10 years. I get a shock when I bump into the older ones now!
I don’t think I’ve ever come across a baby who doesn’t enjoy massage but what may surprise some people is that it's often the mums who benefit just as much from the course, sharing ups and downs (and tips!) during a unique time in their lives and often forming friendships that endure well beyond the course.
The course runs for 4 weeks at a time and I usually run courses with between 4 and 9 people (maximum). Babies age range from 6 weeks to around 7 months. There is no ideal age to do the course although, small babies will generally tolerate less massage and we often have to adapt the massage for older babies.
I instruct the class with my own “life like baby” so you will always be learning the skills and techniques for you to use at home yourself.
In baby massage we say that we work “with the baby and not on the baby”.
An important part of baby massage is learning to read baby “nonverbal” body language i.e. when to start, when to stop. We are learning to stop and look and listen to babies needs. The massage itself combines techniques from Indian massage, Swedish massage, reflexology and yoga principles. We use natural oils, which are provided, and you will also receive a copy of class notes with diagrams and descriptions of the massages and its techniques.
Massage soothes your baby and is a pleasurable experience for both mum and baby. Research studies show the respiratory, muscular, circulatory and immune systems all benefit from the positive effects of massage. Eye-to–eye and skin-to-skin contact and the exchange of soothing sounds and smells all help you and baby to bond. In fact it has been shown that the human love drug “oxytocin” is released during massage. Bonding with a newborn may not always come as naturally as we imagine and only some of the reasons for this can include that we are just so tired, overwhelmed or busy with other kids that its difficult to take time out to just enjoy the moment. This course is not just for first time mums and some mums even repeat the course again with their subsequent newborn.
My baby is very fussy, windy, constipated, has colic…… Will baby massage help?
I certainly won’t promise that baby massage is the answer to any of the above but during the course we will cover how to massage a fussy baby, techniques to ease wind and constipation and specific "massage treatment" for colic. You will leave with a few more tools to work with so you don’t feel helpless or overcome dealing with these issues.
My baby won’t sleep? Will baby massage help?
Massage will make babies tired and also hungry so the end of our classes will often finish with mums feeding (and chatting!!) and babies sleeping. Outside of class mums often build massage into babies nighttime routine to help baby settle into “deeper sleep”. We will discuss this and babies sleep cycles during class
How long will massage take?
You can massage your baby for as little or as long a time as you like but in my experience usually up to half an hour is enough. It’s a lot for a little one and we know ourselves how tiring a massage can be.
I have twins. What will I do?
Parents with twins are more than welcome. You can come alone or sometimes mums bring along a helper/child-minder or other. I’ve had 2 incidences of triplets in the last year (the rest of the class were in awe!). In both cases the mums brought one child a week and all three with a helper on the last week. I’m obviously there “on-hand” but I don’t massage the babies myself. The mums are the experts. I am there to instruct and help where needed.
How much is the course?
The course cost is €120 but up to €100 is redeemable on certain insurance policies. Check with your policy insurer beforehand.
I am a certified infant massage instructor (C.I.M.I) and member of the International Association of Infant Massage (I.A.I.M). I am also a yoga instructor and qualified to teach baby yoga so she incorporates some of this into the course as well as showing special ways to adapt massage for growing baby. I hope you enjoy the course as much as I enjoy teaching it.
My courses run at Mondays 10.15am in the lovely Dundrum studio and if that time doesn’t suit you Saffron Kirwan runs courses in Ranelagh on Tuesdays 10am.
Thanks and happy massaging!
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