What is baby massage?
Baby Massage is all about positive nurturing touch. It's different to adult massage because we're not working with the physiological set up of the joints and bones - we're focused on touch, physical contact and skin-to-skin bonding. We concentrate on baby-led practise, watching the baby's cues to make sure they're happy with the massage and going at their pace.
What happens at a baby massage class?
We'll talk through the benefits of baby massage, and teach some practical massage using a demonstration doll, before finishing with a discussion and the chance to share some ideas within the group. You can join in and practise the massage with your baby, or if they'd prefer to sleep, feed or cuddle, that's fine too! You'll learn by watching, and can practise at home.
Most babies take a while to adjust to the experience of massage, and may not participate in practise every week. And they're very unpredictable! Everyone will understand if your baby has an unexpected nap or suddenly needs to feed - crying is welcome at baby massage and all the other parents are in the same situation.
How does the course work?
A baby massage course takes place over 4 weeks (4 x 75 minute sessions). Each week, you'll learn how to massage a new part of your baby's body. Then you'll have the rest of that week to practise. The following week, you'll learn about a new part of the body, slowing building up until we can practise a full body massage at the end of the course. You'll also learn lots about the theory behind baby massage, and have a chat about parenthood with the rest of your class.
You sign up for the 4-week course in advance, and learn new skills and knowledge each week. Once you've completed the course, you'll have learnt all the strokes and will be able to practise at home, with the help of your illustrated handout to jog your memory.
Who can take part in a baby massage class?
Baby Massage is for parents or primary caregivers and babies aged up to 12 months. You can, of course, continue to massage your baby into childhood and beyond, but our class is designed for young babies (pre-crawling). SoLo welcomes young mums, older parents, dads, adoptive parents, and more. Baby Massage can be a great way to introduce bonding for primary caregivers who are not 'mum' - e.g. dads who don't get the skin-on-skin contact from breastfeeding, or adoptive parents who need to create a 'new' bond with their baby.
What are the benefits of baby massage?
- Interaction - Baby Massage is one of the first parent-and-baby classes you can enjoy with your child. You'll learn how to interact with eachother and how you can communicate with touch and speech, even though your baby is in a pre-language stage. You'll learn how to form a physical and emotional bond with your baby, and build a relationship of trust, helping your baby understand that you're their primary caregiver.
- Stimulation - Baby Massage has shown to stimulate the circulatory, digestive, immune, nervous and respiratory systems. When you take the SoLo course, we'll guide you through how each of the strokes helps different parts of the body.
- Relaxation - Your baby will learn to relax, just like adults do with an adult massage! Baby Massage helps to promote relaxation for both mum and baby, and this, in turn, helps to promote sleep - a must-have for the whole family!
- Relief - Baby Massage has been shown to help with a variety of ailments, including colic, gas, constipation, teething, mucus and other skin conditions. We'll talk you through the various benefits of baby massage at the first session of your SoLo course.
What else will I learn on the SoLo baby massage course?
As well as baby massage strokes and movements, we'll teach you how to read your baby's behaviour and anticipate their moods. We'll look at the way they sleep, wake and feed to work out when would be the best time for you to practise massage or play. You may find this kind of information helpful when you start to create routines and set up sleeping patterns as your baby gets older.
Is baby massage good for parents too?
Baby Massage can be one of the first activities you'll enjoy with your baby. Your SoLo course is a great way to get out of the house, meet new parents, or socialise with a current group of friends if you book a private class. Being out and about, or sharing your concerns and questions with other new parents, can be a relief! Your new-found confidence and friendships can even help with things like post-natal depression or anxiety, too. We show YOU how to build a physical relationship with your baby - our aim is to empower you and fill you with confidence. Once you have the skills to practise baby massage, you can teach the rest of your family at home and help encourage a stress-free environment for the whole family.
What are the principles of the International Association of Infant Massage?
Welcome. Accept. Respect. Our baby massage course is a welcoming environment where all attendees should feel comfortable and relaxed. You and your baby will be accepted and your routines will be respected - please feel free to change, feed or cuddle your baby whenever necessary during the class.
What oils should I use for baby massage?
When you attend a SoLo baby massage course, we'll supply you with a bottle of cold-pressed organic sunflower oil. We ONLY use cold-pressed vegetable or fruit oils, because baby skin is so delicate. At your first session, we'll talk you through the different oils you can use and explain why synthetic or essential oils are NOT suitable for baby massage.
What if my baby has eczema?
When you contact us to make a booking, make sure you tell us about any potential health issues that your baby may have. If your baby has eczema, we can usually still perform the massage practise using their prescribed eczema cream, instead of the cold-pressed vegetable oil that we usually use. If the condition is very severe, it may be best to observe the class and massage only on the unaffected areas - this is still very beneficial for both parent and baby.
What if my baby has health problems?
Tell us about your baby's health when you contact us. It may be that we'd need to arrange a private session, if they'll find it difficult to participate in the standard course. If you baby has special needs, we can offer the course up to the age of 5. We'll work with you to make adjustments to your massage practise if you need to work around a health issue, so just let us know.
Is there a minimum age for babies to take part?
No. Mums and newborn babies can take part in baby massage classes. However, since newborns need a lot of sleep and feeding, they probably won't be happy to have a full massage session (75 minutes) without some cuddles. But the decision is totally up to you - I welcome any age babies and mums can learn the strokes by watching while their baby is asleep or practising on a demonstration doll. I'd usually recommend waiting until they're around 6 weeks or older, so you have more of a routine and can recognise some more of your baby's needs.
What areas do you cover?
Our group class locations are changing all the time - tell us if you want to see a new course in your area! We currently run baby massage classes in Bromley, Crystal Palace and Dulwich AND we also offer private and group classes at your home - we can cover all areas of South London including Peckham, Nunhead, Dulwich, Brockley, Bromley, Beckenham, Sydenham, South Norwood, West Norwood, Forest Hill, Honor Oak, Clapham, Brixton, Tulse Hill and Balham. Click here to see our courses and book.
Can I have a private class at home?
We offer a range of group classes at various locations, as well as group and private classes at SoLo headquarters or in your own home. Visit our Classes page for more info or contact us with your requirements. Private classes work well if your baby has special needs, or if you want to do the course with your partner at weekends.
We also offer a Duo course - two parents and two babies can split the cost of a completely private class (£100) and have a bespoke course for two people, in two sessions. This is ideal for two friends who don't have a larger group of mums to set up a whole course, and who don't live close to one of our public group venues. We cover the same content in this course as we would on the Private class and Public class, but we cover more in each session and you get more dedicated, personal time with your teacher.
Can I buy gift vouchers?
Yes! Gift vouchers for baby massage are a great idea for baby showers - most mums know this is a course they'll want to take as soon as their baby arrives. Visit our gifts page for details - all you have to do is get in touch and we can supply you with a printable PDF voucher.
What do I need for a baby massage class?
Once you book a course with us, we'll send you an email with everything you need for your first class. We'll supply mats, oils, and a practise guide. All you need is a few basics, like a towel and a change of clothes for your baby.
What else can I do with my baby?
Our partner site, Maternity Leave Life, is designed for parents in London. It's a great place to find inspiration for things to do and places to go in London with children of all ages.