E029. Helen Thompson - The Role of Baby Massage in DevelopmentFeb 01, 2022
Helen is originally from Perthshire in Scotland, and lives on the northwest coast of Tasmania. Helen has her nursery nursing qualification, and as a qualified childcare educator Helen has spent many years looking after babies, toddlers and children. In 2010, she discovered the wonderful world of baby massage. She became an instructor and delights in helping parents enhance their confidence while forging a closer bond with their baby. Helen started hosting her First Time Mums Chat podcast in January 2021, where she is able to connect with parents on a weekly basis.
Understanding the Power of Touch
There is a lot of research on baby massage, and how it helps with mothers who find it hard to touch your babies. Massage helps them learn how to communicate with their child, and it has also been researched that skin-to-skin with a baby is very important.
Helen shares that it's mainly about touching and respecting your baby and giving your baby that respect. It helps with a lot of different things including: colic, constipation, and sleep. Touch has many health benefits, as well as a lot of emotional benefits. It helps promote relaxation for the mom and for the baby, as well as encourages: development, communication and bonding.
The Timing of the Massage is Critical
Helen shares with Kristina and the listeners the concept of quiet alert state. The quiet alert state is when your baby is just beginning to wake up. They are just waking up and they're just getting active for the day. They are communicating with you and they're engaging with you. This is a great time to actually do massage, because they are very assertive at that time and they can tell you what they like and what they don't like. Another good time is before bed, because it helps with sleep, and you can engage by talking to them, which helps them to move as well.
Developing your Baby's Body Awareness and Coordination
When massaging, Helen explains that it is best to start with the baby's head, and to go all the way down to the toes. You are giving them that body awareness and allowing them to see how long they are. When you go from the spine out to their arms, this allows them to see how wide they are.
While you are massaging, you can speak to them, “I'm massaging your left leg at the moment, and I'm just going to touch your toes.” All of this helps with awareness
Finding Different ways to Communicate with your Children
If you communicate with your child, and if they can't communicate, there are things that a parent can do. Drawing is a great way for them to express themselves; as they are drawing, you can say, “Well, why don't you draw what you're wanting to tell me?” You can also incorporate movement like jumping up and down and have them act out what they are trying to tell you.
With teenagers it is a little different; with them, sometimes you just got to let them know that you are there for them. Be supportive of them and give them the respect to regulate and process their feelings.
Tummy Massages are Great for Everyone
Helen shares the amazing results you get, if you just gently sort of talk to your body and tell your body what's happening. You can do this while giving yourself a tummy massage. Massage works the same way in adults as they do in babies; massage in a clockwise direction, which is the way the bowel moves. When doing this you are releasing what is trapped there, and you are pushing all the waste out.
Parents that needs a little support on their parenting journey can visit Helen at her website My Baby Massage.
FREE RESOURCE FROM HELEN: mybabymassage.net/
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