DID you know massage can help promote better sleep for your baby? And a good night’s sleep for baby means mum and dad can wake up the next morning fully rested and ready to face the day.

Mums Emma Haverson and Anna Mapson know full well the benefits of baby massage – they were so impressed with its effects on their own children they now run courses to help other parents learn massage techniques.

The Gentle Touch was set up by 40-year-old Emma in 2012 and she was joined by her friend Anna in 2013.

After establishing successful courses in Southville, the pair are bringing their skills and knowledge to Fishponds after Anna, 36, recently moved to the area from Bedminster.

According to Anna, who has two girls aged one and five, baby massage is a skill that is easy to learn with numerous benefits to parent and baby. 

She said: “It’s amazing. I learnt it through going to Emma’s classes with my daughter. It’s a really lovely way of bonding with your baby and spending time connecting.

“I found it really beneficial. There are lots of physical health benefits but a lot of the benefit is about the mental and emotional improvements between the parent and child.”

And can it really help with sleep?

“Regular relaxation generally improves the quality of sleep that the baby will have. We can’t prove it will help baby sleep through the night but it does help to relax both parent and baby. The close connection babies feel with the parent through massage can also mean they don’t panic so much when they wake up in the night.”

Massaging babies isn’t a new practice, it’s a long standing tradition thought to date back thousands of years passed down from generation to generation.

Parents regularly massage their babies as part of daily life in many parts of the world such as India, Africa and Asia. Within the last 30 years or so baby massage has gained popularity within the UK, and we’ve seen a sharp rise in popularity within the last five years.

Emma, who is mum to two boys aged one and three, said: “It’s now common knowledge that holding and stroking your baby is one of the most wonderful gifts we can give to them. Parents used to be told not to pick up their babies because they would ‘spoil them’, but now we know gentle nurturing touch signifies, love, protection, shelter and warmth. Touch is the first of the senses to develop and it’s known to be the baby’s first ‘language’.”

What are the benefits of massage? 

Massaging your baby’s tummy can help ease colic, constipation or trapped wind

Promotes better sleep for baby by raising levels of the ‘feel-good’ hormone oxytocin, this helps you both feel calmer and relaxed

Helps promote a healthy parent-child attachment

Can help you become more confident with handling your baby and understand their non-verbal language

Communicates love and builds trust

Teaches both parent and baby about positive touch

Can alleviate the effects of postnatal depression and help a mother feel more positive about the bond with their baby

• Can help with baby’s weight gain

Provides you with a tool kit to help soothe your baby 

For details of classes in the area starting on January 14, call Anna on 07812 010412 or email info@the-gentle-touch.com. You can also find out more at www.the-gentle-touch.com


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