Baby led classes – what does it really mean?

Our massage classes are ‘baby-led’. What does this really mean? How can this little person let me know if they would like a massage or not?!

“Imagine a giant comes who is much taller, stronger, bigger, and grabs you and you don’t even know what will happen to you. It’s scary. So, slow down. Give yourself time. Tell your child what you are going to do. Wait for a little response.”                                            – Magda Gerber, Your Self-Confident Baby

For me, this quote perfectly sums it up.

I teach baby massage classes in Sale, Trafford and across South Manchester and Cheshire, the focus is on the babies and reading and respecting their cues.

Much research has been published to prove the importance of positive nurturing touch to the mental and physical development of babies. Carried out in a respectful way, baby massage can really enhance the bond between baby and carer. But how do we read and follow our baby’s cues?

Firstly we look for the obvious physical signs that the baby is in the right mood for a massage, the course goes through these signs in detail with lots of information about the various new-born reflexes which you can expect to see with younger babies.

One of the most important parts of the massage routine is to ask the baby’s permission to begin. This not only allows the baby to get ready for the massage experience but also shows that we respect how they feel. We will teach our children the difference between healthy and unhealthy touch and so this shows them they have the right to decline unwanted touching.

But what if I come to class and my baby doesn’t want a massage?

Worried that the class coincides with feeding time? Baby will be due a nap half way through?

Don’t worry, babies are welcome with all their sounds and in all their moods, you are welcome to feed, they can sleep or cry or communicate however they wish to on the day. If your baby does fall asleep during the massage, there are spare dolls for you to practice the strokes on, or you can just cuddle your little one whilst you watch and learn.

Each week, you will receive handouts which clearly show the strokes for you to practice at home at a time when your baby is ready and giving you all those positive cues.

There may be a class where your baby just isn’t in the mood for a massage, in the worst case scenario, you will at the very least get a hot drink, a biscuit or two and a chat with some friendly like-minded parents.

Book your course today!






Bonding – can baby massage help? A real story

Having had anxiety and depression in the past, on finding out I was pregnant with my first baby, I naturally had some questions around how likely it was that I would get post natal depression.  I hadn’t been someone who had wanted children all my life so wondered if I might struggle with bonding. The midwife explained there wasn’t necessarily a definite link between the two for me but that there was plenty of screening and support once the baby arrived which put my mind at ease a little.

I had a relatively easy pregnancy, apart from regular bouts of bleeding due to a low lying placenta and in the latter stages I developed SPD which was pretty painful. When my due date came and went and two weeks later I was heading to hospital to be induced, I wasn’t even considering how I would bond with the little person we were about to meet. I had a really good birth experience and little Max arrived into the world.

That’s the hard bit done, I thought… but that’s not quite how it was…

We were kept in the hospital for two nights as Max wasn’t feeding, I had been adamant I would breastfeed but it seemed this wasn’t working out. Max was diagnosed with a significant tongue tie.

In that ward overnight, exhausted after labour and just needing sleep, Max did nothing but cry and I literally didn’t know what to do. I suddenly felt completely helpless, completely out of my depth and completely alone in those long first nights.

On returning home I thought everything would just go back to normal! No chance! The lack of sleep in those first weeks is relentless, nobody can prepare you for it. Feed, sleep, change, feed, sleep, change. Sleep when the baby sleeps they say – ha! That never did work for me so I was absolutely shattered.

As soon as Max was born I knew I would do anything for him but I cant honestly say that I felt any attachment for a good few weeks, I found it so hard to feel what I had heard to be a burst of love for someone who just screams at you no matter what you do!

Thankfully I have a wonderfully supportive husband and family and an amazing group of Mums from NCT.

Once my husband Mark had to go back to work and I was left alone with the tiny screaming human, desperate to escape the house, I looked into classes that were suitable for newborns and came across a baby massage class. I rounded up a few of my NCT buddies and we started when Max was around 10 weeks old.

The first session was traumatic – it took me all my energy to get us out of the house in time and Max cried pretty much the whole way through the class. Is it worth it I thought?!

As the sessions went on, the logistics became easier, practicing the strokes that we learnt in class at home meant that we were both more relaxed in each-other’s company and I learnt to read Max’s cues better. I learnt how to tell when he was tired, bored, needed a boundary, lots of other things beyond the obvious physical needs of food/sleep/nappy change. the communication skills we found came from spending time together doing the massage strokes were invaluable for me, I could see that he was a human with needs and not just a robot who I could make better by just seeing to the physical needs.

That was the absolute difference for me, things suddenly clicked. I was able to connect with him and there began our bonding.

Not only that but when Max developed colic and silent reflux I felt able to do something to help him.

Now we are so close, I’m able to communicate so much better with him and he is amazing. Now I know exactly what they’re talking about when they describe the bond between mother and child, for me it certainly didn’t come as naturally as I had expected, but it did come.