Parents and their newborn babies will soon benefit from a new infant massage service which is starting at Sesame Lane Care and Kindergarten in Kippa-Ring.
The sessions will be run by Gillian Brown, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the childcare industry, and is the Lead Educator of the nursery.
Gillian is completing a course through the International Association of Infant Massage and hopes to offer the service to the wider community in the coming weeks.
She says infant massage is a wonderful way to form important connections from an early age.
“One of the benefits of infant massage is it helps to grow a stronger connection between the baby and their parents or caregivers,” she says.
“It further strengthens the bond between the baby and the mother, but also gives the father a chance to engage with the child and deepen their bond, which can sometimes be a little tricky in the early days as some dads often say they feel left out.”
Infant massage can also make babies sleep better, reduce crying, ease the pain of growing muscles, and help with colic, wind and constipation.
Gillian has been working with a small group of parents as part of the practical component of the course in a dedicated massage room at Sesame Lane.
While sitting on the floor, she shows them the best techniques to soothe and massage the baby.
“There are a lot of movements to learn which can’t be taught in one session because the babies won’t be able to lie still for that long,” she says.
“That’s why we do them over five weeks and focus on different areas.
“But it’s the babies that are in charge of the session – We find their cues and listen to what they want to do.
“If the baby needs a feed, we can stop. If they need a nappy change, we will stop. If they fall asleep, that’s a job well done.
“The massage techniques are something that can grow with the baby as it gets older, and there are also movements I can teach so the parents can include their siblings.”
Each session runs between one hour and an hour-and-a-half.
Sheree Vanderwerf and her partner Scotty Greig have been taking part in the infant massage sessions with their four-month-old daughter Sunny.
Sheree says she loves the connection she is forming with her youngest daughter.
“I really liked the idea of separating a little time for just Sunny and I to bond,” she says.
“It’s very calming and soothing for Sunny, and it’s a nice bonding experience for the two of us.
“I often do the massage on the change table because it’s a nice height for me, and Sunny is already nice and relaxed.
“I will often do circles on her tummy around her digestive system which makes her feel better.”
The Margate mum says knowing these skills would have helped with her two older children, Henry and Zoey Whitney.
“I really wish this had been around when I had Henry because I was suffering from Postnatal Depression a little bit,” Sheree says.
“At the time I didn’t think of talking out aloud to my baby because I felt a little silly but coming here with Sunny and seeing Gillian talk her, it makes me feel better about talking to Sunny.
“Because Gillian works in the nursery, I’m also able to talk to her during these sessions about motherhood and get some advice as well.
“Gillian is just so calming and makes me feel comfortable every session.”
Sunny’s father Scotty says he loves to see the smile on his daughter’s face during the massage.
“As a father, I think it’s really nice to spend that time with your child, doing something they really like,” Mr Greig said.
“Dads know that it’s the mum that makes that easy connection with the baby, which is beautiful, but it could be a little harder for us.
“This is a good father-child experience because sometimes it’s hard for us to have that one-on-one experience with your child.
“As a father I love it – It’s a relaxing and comforting time with Sunny.”
Sesame Lane Kippa-Ring will begin offering the infant sessions sometime in the next four to six weeks.
For more information, phone 3480 8010 or email email@example.com