We’ve all sung this song to a baby or child and made them laugh. It’s a form of massage … gentle movement of each toe making them relax or laugh. It gets those feel good hormones going and at that exact moment when you both laugh, you are forming a bond.
Baby massage is such a beautiful way of connecting with your little one and as well as hands, arms, legs, stomach, back and chest there is the chance to get your hands on those little tootsies. I see so many baby feet when taking castings or footprints for jewellery. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any baby feet that I don’t like. It’s a shame they don’t stay so cute for long…
I met Kia from Take Some Time at The Nesting Place where she holds baby massage classes. With my infatuation of baby feet I asked her if she would share more about baby massage and in particular massaging feet! She has been a holistic therapist for 10 years and has specialised in teaching baby massage for the past eight years.
Historically, research suggests that the wonderful benefits of baby massage began in India (where mums also got massaged daily for a time after the birth to help the body recover). It then spread its magic across China, South Asia and Africa evoking the power of touch to help with:
- parental bonding and attachment
- eye contact (listening and watching the changes in their parents faces as they sing to them whilst massaging)
- regulation of circulation (particularly beneficial in neonatal units)
- aiding longer sleep
- bone density
- muscle development and strength
- gross and fine motor skills
- brain development
- teething pain
- blocked tear ducts to name but a few!
Take some Time
This is exactly what baby massage gives you… time with your little one. When I asked Kia what a mummy should expect when attending her classes, she said that it could well be her first time (in the words of Micky Flanagan) ‘out out’ with her baby, as a mum, a mum who now not only has to think about what she needs whilst she’s out of the house but also all of the things her baby will need, might need, probably won’t need but we’ll take it anyway.
Kia’s experience enables her to quickly and discreetly identify those mums who might be feeling a bit anxious about attending a group…“what if my baby cries”, “what if my baby is the only baby that cries”, “what if everyone already knows one another and I don’t know anyone”. That’s why she keeps her classes small (no more than seven in a group).
Kia usually walks around with her fluffy socks on and even though she doesn’t ask the parents to do the same they automatically take off their shoes and the closer your feet are to the ground the more…you guessed it… grounded you feel. The first session focuses on feet. Sitting on soft pillows around the room, feet on the floor helping to reconnect with the earth below and taking in a few deep breaths. Enjoying the relaxation scents flowing softly from the diffuser. Holding the feet of the babies (also known as the ‘comfort hold’) this helps the babies to feel ‘grounded’ and a good indicator to the babes that they are about to embark on the wonderful time that is to follow between them and their parent through massage.
Kia always gets such positive feedback after the sessions massaging the feet. “The area you showed me on the feet really helped with his/her tummy” and “he/she was a bit fretful at one point during the week and I really felt the comfort hold helped to calm him/her”.
The babies lead the foot and leg routine in their own time as the parents learn the areas on the feet where they can perform an allergy test on their babies if they were to move on from their Grapeseed oil. There are also areas on the feet where effective relief from colic and constipation can be performed! All this whilst of course allowing time for feeding, nappy changes and cuddles.
You can book onto a course of classes by emailing Kia at firstname.lastname@example.org. A little birdie told me that she makes a cake to share with the class too.