I never thought about baby massage during my pregnancy. I didn’t think about reading up on it or finding out what it entailed. It didn’t really matter.
I had been told by mil that she massaged her two boys and ‘look how strong and handsome they are’, ‘they cried so much during their massages – but that’s good because their lungs ‘opened-up’. My sister-in-law said that it will upset me to see mil massage the baby because he will cry so much, but I must let her do it because it’s really helped her son. To be honest, I was quite dubious and wasn’t sure if I liked the idea of this whole baby massage thing, but I tried to keep an open mind.
My mum didn’t massage any of us, so she wasn’t adamant about it. FYI, we’re all strong and healthy.
A couple of weeks after V was born, mil came round to do the massage. I was horrified. He screamed, he cried and it really looked painful. This happened a few times and I could not say ‘no’ – for reasons I cannot explain here. All I can tell you is, apparently, ‘it’s the Indian way’.
Once the in-laws left London to come back to Lagos (Hub included. He was all for the massaging, in case you were wondering), I stopped doing it. I would sometimes, half-heartedly, rub some oil on him. But neither he nor I enjoyed it.
Meanwhile, mil was calling every day to check we were all ok and every day she asked if I was massaging the baby. I just kept saying, yes. Yes, yes, yes. I’m doing it.
As it came nearer to me leaving London and coming home to Lagos, I started worrying. I knew mil would be over a lot. I knew she would watch me do the massage or want to do it herself. What was I going to do? I understood that massaging would be *good* for him, but I didn’t want to do it *that* way.
That is when I started researching. I was so surprised! Baby massage didn’t have to be a horrible experience for mum or baby! It was bonding time! And the benefits were numerous – many in common with what mil had told me.
So I found this place – Kailash Centre of Oriental Medicine. I made an appointment with a lovely lady called Amy and I had a private baby massage lesson. It was so relaxing! And V was so happy! THIS. THIS is what it’s meant to be about. The first rule of baby massage is: Don’t do it if the baby’s not happy!
I started massaging him every day and V and I both got used to the routine.
Then I bought Baby Massage and Yoga: Teach Yourself by Anita Epple. I read it, I used it, we both loved it! It is very easy to follow as the strokes are clearly described and so is the accompanying diagram. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to work our way through the whole book because once V started crawling, he usually just turned over and crawled away mid-massage. Or he would want to stand. So we don’t do the massage part too much anymore which makes me a little sad.
But we still do a little of the baby yoga and we both enjoy it 🙂
Getting ready for his massage (rather, waiting for Mama to get everything ready!).