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.
- 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.
- Helps baby trust the world and want to open to it
- helps baby trust herself and her ability to handle life as it is.
- helps baby focus hiss attention on his own body, so that later he knows how to relax himself
- helps baby feel she has some control of her reactions to stress.
- helps baby associate your touch with the positive benefits of 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.