Infant Massage – A handbook for loving parents by Vimala McClure

I’m questioning my suitability of being a mum again and so all the parenting books are out and open but unfortunately none are finished.  However, I found this book which I have read twice and loved all the relevant parts.  When both my girls were babies, I went to baby massage classes with them and I was recommended this book by the teacher. 

Looking back at it now though, the introduction seems a little harsh especially regarding parenting techniques.  However, that is the only bad thing I have to say about this book.  There are so many massage techniques that you can use and are probably very beneficial but when you have a bit of an explanation as to why you are massaging the baby the way you are and all the benefits of this particular massage, it helps bring a sense of purpose to what you are doing.

This book has 15 chapters:

 Chapter 1: Why massage your baby?

Chapter 2:  Your baby’s sensory world

Chapter 3: Bonding, Attachment and Infant massage

Chapter 4: Especially for Fathers

Chapter 5: Helping Baby (and you) learn to relax

Chapter 6: Music and Massage

Chapter 7: Getting ready

Chapter 8: How to massage your baby

Chapter 9: Crying, fussing and other baby language

Chapter 10: Minor illnesses and Colic

Chapter 11: Your premature baby

Chapter 12: Your baby with special needs

Chapter 13: Your growing child and sibling bonding through massage

Chapter 14: Your adopted or foster children

Chapter 15: A note to teen parents

With my first daughter, I used to massage her every day, without fail after her evening bath.  It was amazing how it would calm her down and relax her almost in front of your eyes.  Doing this before bedtime was usually great for getting her to fall asleep.  As a baby she was a really good sleeper.  Unfortunately, trying to get her to sleep now (aged 6) by herself is a nightmare.  First come the excuses and all the important things she needs to tell me right now, and then come the books which she hides under the pillow and in the bed and tries to read for as late as possible.  It’s good to read but sleep is important too and the thing is I’ve been there and done that – reading under the duvet with a dim torch.

My second daughter didn’t seem to be too much of a fan of baby massage to start with.  She wouldn’t keep still when I would massage her and usually just end up massaging whatever part of the body I had in front of me.  However, I did start baby massage earlier with her and as she got older, she did seem to enjoy it.

Even with two girls, we did bedtime massages for a long time, even if some nights it didn’t seem as long or as relaxing as I would like.  A lot of my younger daughter’s massages were moved to the day time when the older daughter was at nursery and I had time to massage without worrying about being disturbed.

As they have got older, the massages have more or less stopped now and the most they get is a quick rub down with some moisturiser.  The other day, the eldest daughter started complaining about her legs and that they were hurting her.  This was in the night just before I was heading to sleep.  She hadn’t complained all day so I assumed it was growing pains and did a little massage on her legs then.  Again she fell asleep quickly and for a moment it felt like being a baby again.

This book goes into details of the techniques of baby massage on different parts of the body.  As the baby grows up and her wants change, it also shows you how to adapt our massaging techniques to suit them.  It also covers some very basic illnesses, like a tummy bug or a cough and cold and how different massages can help relieve the pain, even if it is only for a bit. It also mentions how massaging helps with bonding with you child and it is also good for fathers to join in with the massages.  It’s a very good read and I would definitely recommend this book to parents to be so they can be prepared for giving their babies a massage as reading becomes a luxury once you become parents.



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