I have a premature baby, can I attend?
Research has shown the benefits of infant massage on premature babies. Penny will find out more about you and your child before the class begins. Strokes can be adapted if required for premature babies and these will be shown on the course along with comforting holds. There is a premature baby doll to practice on should your baby be asleep or not in the mood during a class. 1:1 sessions are recommended if your baby is still very young.
What will I need to bring?
- Yourself and your baby
- A towel for the baby to lie on and maybe one more
- Spare clothes and nappy if required
- Bottle if baby is bottle fed; massages can make the baby thirsty
- It is advisable to wear loose clothing for your own comfort
What if my baby sleeps during the class?
Don’t worry if the baby is asleep or not in the mood for a massage, the strokes are taught so you can practice them at home and there is a spare doll should you wish to practice in the class.
The classes are very baby friendly, parents are encouraged to see to whatever their baby needs during the class.
Should I attend if this is not my first child?
Absolutely, the programme teaches parents not only the strokes that may aid children physically but also offers parents that valuable one to one time with their child which can be increasingly difficult the more children someone has. Every child is different and the child related discussions allow parents to discover more about the beauty of each child and their own unique ways. The programme also shows how siblings can get involved.
My baby has colic will massage help?
On the course massage strokes are taught that parents over time have said has aided babies with colic
My baby has reflux will massage help?
Massage on any area of the body is able to assist a reflux baby by stimulation of the vagus nerve and thus an increase in effectiveness of muscle control and regulation. It also relaxes a baby to help with the pain.
I am a father, can I attend?
Definitely, baby massage allows wonderful quality bonding time for fathers and their children. Massage allows fathers to get to know their children in an extraordinary way and take part in the child rearing.
I am suffering from post natal depression can baby massage help?
All classes respect the privacy of those that attend. Studies have shown that by attending regularly infant massage classes it may improve postnatal depression which about 70,000 women in the UK suffer with each year. In addition classes can may improve the quality of mother-infant interaction women by attending the classes. The classes provide an opportunity to meet and share experiences with other parents, no one is ever alone. Please see the research section. One to one courses are also available.
Can infant massage continue when my child gets older?
Infant massage has many advantages in being continued as the child matures. Before the age of twelve, children are very tactile-kinesthetic i.e. they use feelings more than hearing or sight for information on the world. Touch can produce more feelings than words. A child who is praised with just words, registers this fifteen percent of the time whilst a child who is praised and touched absorbs this eighty five percent of the time. Massage can not only help with relaxation and also that close relationship between parent and child can benefit by enhancing the child’s self-esteem. Part of the programme discusses adapting strokes as the child gets older.
Penny Constantinou has 15 years of experience and is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor through the International Association of Infant Massage which has been operating for over 30 years around the world. She is also qualified through Birthlight to teach baby yoga (including post natal yoga)and teaches also pre and post natal yoga.She is qualified through Classical Yoga, Yogagro andthrough Birthlight to teach Pregnancy yoga. She adores babies, has a keen interest in child development and is happy to recommend any books or research articles to parents. Penny is CRB checked and also worked on a consultancy basis in a safe staffing role being a national lead in safe staffing with a background in both social care and education in this field. Penny has her 200 hour yoga qualification and is registered also with the Yoga Alliance.
Penny also has an number of qualifications and is qualified to teach Accessible Yoga/Senior yoga/Chair yoga/Excercise for the older generation and is passionate about helping people to age healthily and to help those with mobility and or health conditions to realise that there is a lot they can do to stay healthy in body and mind.
Can I bring an older sibling along to the class?
Siblings are welcome provided they will not distract the parent and the rest of the class. There is a doll they can practice baby massage on should they wish to join in and there are colouring pencils.
Research is now being done into the positive effects of massage and touch on both parent and child. Please contact me if you would like to know more.
Baby Massage and Premature babies
There has been much global research undertaken into baby massage and premature babies. What has been evident when looking at these studies it that the majority of babies who are regularly massaged experienced greater weight gain and better performance on developmental tasks than those who did not. Research has also shown many babies sleep better and their cortisol levels (stress hormone) decreased after a massage
Baby Massage and Depressed Mothers
Studies have shown that in a controlled group, mothers who massaged their babies over a period of time can reduce their levels of depression and improve the quality of mother-infant interaction.
Baby Massage in general
Research papers have shown that baby massage may have benefits such as mother-infant interaction, sleeping and crying and on hormones influencing stress levels. Some studies have shown that Oxytocin (a hormone) is released not only in the person receiving the massage but also in the person administering it. Oxytocin is a hormone that is important to mothers for many reasons including controlling and stimulating the explusion of milk and aids in bonding and attachment. For babies it induces social memory and calmness in the infant. Children who receive massage become more socially mature and less aggressive with fewer physical complaints. Research has also shown the positive effects of massage for various conditions such as asthma, cancer and autism in for children.
Baby Massage and Reflux
Massage on any area of the body is able to assist a reflux baby by stimulation of the vagus nerve and thus an increase in effectiveness of muscle control and regulation.
Baby Yoga - Research
There is mounting evidence from both neuroscience and from therapeutic techniques that movement in young babies and children is crucial to the formation of neural pathways and, therefore thinking. Primitive reflexes need to be matured or intergrated into movement patterns that are under our control. The only way for this to happen is for babies and young children to be given plenty of opportunities to move, to strenghten muscles, to practice movements and to learn to control them.
In addition baby yoga just like massage involves those crucial elements of bonding for both parent and baby and allows parents and babies to benefit from both movement and stillness which can can so aid re-energising parents and influence stress levels.
What is wonderful to see is that relaxation techniques are increasingly being practised not only in complementary medicine but also in conventional medical settings to help with mild anxiety and depression
Pregnancy Yoga research
May 2014 researchers from Newcastle University published the results of a worldwide study that showed that pregnancy yoga can help reduce the risk of ladies developing anxiety and depression in pregnancy. A single class of pregnancy yoga was found to reduce anxiety by one third and stress hormone levels by 14%. There was also evidence to show how by attending pregnancy yoga you can reduce the need for pain relief during birth and the likelihood for delivery by emergency caesarean section .