Tuesday 14 July 2015

Baby massage: our experience

I have mentioned before that Jimmy is not an easy baby. Prior to correction of his tongue and lip ties, he would wake around the clock every 1.5 to 2 hours. He also had digestive issues and was quite gassy and uncomfortable. After correction, he still wakes quite often, but thankfully not as much as before. I would call it a good night if I only had to get up to him twice, but it could be as many as six times some nights. I could probably count on one hand the times that he has slept through the night since birth (I count a sleep through as five hours), and he is just over eight months old now.

He has always been a difficult baby compared to Ellie. She was calm and would melt against you, and was quite happy to sleep alone, for decent stretches of time. Not my little man. He is quite a tense baby, and I find it very hard to help him soothe and settle on his own. This is why I do wear him a lot, but it's becoming a concern for me as I will go back to work soon, and I would love for him to be more relaxed without relying on me quite so much.

I've heard lots of good things about infant massage, so when Deb from Maternal Touch Baby and Kids Massage told me about her upcoming massage for digestive relief course, I was very interested.

The one hour class with Deb was a great bonding experience for Jimmy and I. Deb was enthusiastic, supportive and understanding. She explained the reasons for each part of the massage and demonstrated the techniques with patience and obvious knowledge. When Jimmy was distracted or wanted to feed, Deb encouraged me to attend to him and reassured me that it was not a problem. I learned ways that I could calm my baby when he was uncomfortable, and also a few relaxation techniques as well. At all times, Deb was really respectful of Jimmy and making sure he was comfortable with what we were doing.

After the course, Jimmy was so relaxed that he transferred beautifully from the car to the cot and then proceeded to nap for three hours. This is absolutely unheard of for him - I'd usually be lucky to get a transfer from the car and when sleeping, a single sleep cycle, maybe two if I got to his room in time to settle him before he fully woke.
Sleeping like a baby
That night, he went to sleep at 7pm as he has done his entire life. He did wake briefly at 9pm but settled quickly and then... he slept through until 5am when I desperately had to wake him for a feed. This was the first time ever that this has happened. It was like a miracle, as for the first time since he was born, I got to sleep for longer than a three hour stretch. I felt like a well rested, new woman.

Since then, I have been doing the digestive and relaxation massage techniques daily. I've had some glorious nights of sleep, and some not so good nights too, but to be fair, Jimmy has also cut his first tooth, so some discomfort and waking is totally expected. He's a baby, and I do admit to generally loving our night time snuggles as well, even if he is so very cheeky during the day!
Best 'who me' face

Baby massage is a fascinating aspect of infant health, and research has shown that it can help to:
  • reduce baby's crying time
  • assist sleep, sleep patterns, settling and soothing abilities
  • improve wind, reflux and constipation
  • reduce stress hormones in children and their parents
  • enhance physical and motor skills
I'm so glad that I tried it out and I am loving the bonding time with Jimmy. Ellie has even been asking me to do it for her too, and of course I'm happy to oblige. I'd always touched and massaged my children but it was very good to learn some formal techniques and of course, I was over the moon with Jimmy's immediate results!

*Disclaimer: I attended the course as a guest of Maternal Touch Baby and Kids Massage, however I was not obliged to write this review and all opinions are my own.

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