Monday, September 22, 2008

Baby Massage - Holding Techniqe, Touch Relaxation

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As part of our doula's services, B-rad and i have been taking Chewie to Infant Massage Classes. We had a few sessions with Sunava, and then were handed over to her mother, Amara - who also teaches Infant Massage.

We had our first class with Amara yesterday- here's some of what we learned:

Number One: Holding Method
"Resting, Reassured still hand". When your touch is this conscious & intentional your baby recognizes and feels it. It will get her intention in a quiet and powerful way, and it will prepare your baby for moving touch (massage)
Use before all routines, in the middle and at the end, and any time during massage or rest fo the day when your baby need reassurance. Use before stomach, chest and colic relief routines especially, for several minutes. Maybe you don't have time for a massage one day so 'hold' for five minutes for reassuring your baby. Intention in very important. Remember: All touch Teaches.
Parents' hands on your baby are heavy and relaxed (the full weight of the hands but not extra)

Amara suggested that when we do this, with hands on Chewie's chest, that we imagine a ball of white light in our own chest, and imagine that light moving out our shoulders and down our arms into our hands and into Chewie.

Number Two: Touch Relaxation Technique - based on Conditioned Response Through (elicited) positive reinforcement

These techniques fit well with the rest of the massage strokes and often set the tone for readiness to massage. They can be used anytime your baby is stressed.
  1. They help baby cope with stress. They strengthen the stress threshold and the Relaxation Response so that baby has more available energy to meet life.
  2. Helps baby trust the world and want to open to it
  3. helps baby trust herself and her ability to handle life as it is.
  4. helps baby focus hiss attention on his own body, so that later he knows how to relax himself
  5. helps baby feel she has some control of her reactions to stress.
  6. helps baby associate your touch with the positive benefits of relaxation.
Say you are beginning to massage your baby's leg and it appears still and tense. Take this leg gently in your hands, encompassing and molding your hand to your baby's leg. Fell a heavy relaxation (Full weight of hand but nor more weight) in your hands as they conform to your baby's leg (this is holding technique). Now gently bounce baby's leg, repeating in a soft voice "Relax" - using the same tone each time you say this. As soon as you feel any relaxation in the muscles give your baby positive feedback saying "Yes, you relaxed your leg" and offer a smile and a kiss. Saying 'Relax' with the same tone is important. Refrain from saying "good" (which is a judgement). The same thing can be done holding other places on your baby - arms, chest, tummy, hands. Use very gentle shaking, bouncing, patting, encompassing, rolling motions to loosen up the tense area, giving positive feedback whenever you feel a favourable response - ie, any degree of softening towards full relaxation.

Do this touch several times a day. Soon your baby will make the connection and relax upon hearing your voice "Relax". This is a gift for a lifetime.

For more information on Baby massage, try: "Infant Massage: a Handbook for Loving Parents" by Vimala Schneider McClure. The above information comes from this book and the the research she refers to.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ten Little Things I've Learned About Being a Mom:

Well, i've been a mom for about 2 and a half months now, and i'm accumulating some interesting tidbits of information that i never had before.

  1. Breastmilk is really sticky
  2. When babies are first born, they strain so hard while pooping that they cry and turn purple and struggle... then you change their diapers to see that there's only a dime sized poop in there... turns out that babies aren't sure which muscles to use to poop, so they use them all.
  3. Watching a baby throw a fit is absolutely adorable
  4. In less than three months i've been hit with projectile baby snot more times than i can remember...clean clothes are a thing of the past
  5. When you think you have enough time to run errands in between feeds is when he'll decide to grow and want to cluster feed every hour
  6. Babies make for great small talk when strangers talk to you're in line ups at the drug store
  7. Everyone loves a tiny baby
  8. Breastmilk doesn't just squirt out from one place, but from several spots on the nipple... the first time i pumped i was amazed
  9. Housework is for chumps...actually, housework is - in reality - a dream of a time when i have energy to do the simple things... and do more than just empty the dishwasher
  10. Seeing your baby smile = best thing in the universe

Friday, September 5, 2008

Two Months

Dear Chewie,

i'm amazed at how much you've changed in this past month. Already you look like a different little boy from the one we brought home from the hospital.

At your last weigh in, you weighed 7lbs 4 oz a far cry from the 4 lbs 11 oz that you weighed at your birth, and that was over a week ago - i'm sure your past the 8 lb mark by now. You look and feel like a bonafide baby, and not so much like a preemie. When we brought you home, it seemed that you were all arms and legs, and they were so scrawny, but now your thighs are thickening, and you're developing a right proper double chin. A chubby baby is a happy and healthy baby, so it makes me so happy so see you becoming a little rollie pollie.

i can't stop watching you while you sleep. Watching your facial expressions change, wondering what you could possibly be dreaming about. and your little gassy smiles are almost always followed by a concerned furrowed brow before you relax your face and keep sleeping so peacefully. i used to think the term "I slept like a baby" was bunk - because who in their right mind would want to wake up every two hours screaming? but now i see that its those moments of deep sleep, of peacefulness in those chunks of nap that people are yearning for.

I've only just noticed that you wiggle your toes while you sleep. I know another person in this house that does that, and it's not me. Another 'just like your dad' badge to wear on your sleeve; next to flatulence and messy eating.

oh yeah, and i sometimes wonder - when you fart - where you store all that gas!?? it's hilarious.

this past month has brought more awake time. As we approached your actual due date, it was as if a switch went off and you were instantly more awake and alert! Your dad and i use that time to hold the black and white geometric paintings we made in front of your face. You love to look at them, and we love to watch you look at them - your big dark blue eyes wide in a look of almost amazement.

Bath time is fun, after you get over the initial shock of being lowered into the warm water, you relax and let me hold you by the neck and shoulders, letting the rest of your body float, but you make sure you hold onto my supportive arm with your tiny hand. Making sure i don't let go. I will never let go, baby.

as you've become more and more alert, i'm finding it much easier to talk and sing and play with you. i used to think i'd never get to that place of comfort to make up silly songs and games - but i'm finally there. Today we discovered a game that i hope will be a favourite of ours... "Mommy Monster"... the monster that loves to eat little baby cheeks, and nibble on baby necks and chew on baby toes and suck on baby fingers... "Mmmm, i'm going to eat you up because BABY is my FAVOURITE FLAVOUR! Mawmamawmawmawmmmm....." right now it's really more a game for my entertainment because when i do this you look at me with those big wide eyes in wonder and amazement, with no real concern or amusement...

we still struggle with nursing, as i try to wean you from the nipple shield. We have good days and bad days, but i really try to give you lots of encouragement and praise when you're finally able to latch on and i can feel that you're getting big long drinks. We'll get there, baby. don't you worry sweetie.

I love every bit of you. I love the way you nestle so perfectly under my chin, the way you sigh when i hold you... the way your hair smells and the way it feels when i stroke your perfect little head. I love the way you look when we put you in the sweater Great Grandma M made for you. You are "All-The-Time Cute!"

i have a hard time remembering what life was like before you.
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