Recently a Mum on my 5 week course was telling me about a conversation she was having with a fellow Mummy friend about their different baby massage courses. She was discussing what we tend to call 'the Oxytocin effect' and how wonderful it was, how calm and relaxed both she and her baby felt during and after the class, that warm fuzzy glow, and how her friend, on a different course with another provider, hadn't experienced that and didn't know what she meant by it.
IAIM (International Association of Infant Massage) baby massage courses are so special and here are just a few good reasons why:
The average IAIM class is 90 minutes long. That's double the average baby class. We want parents and babies to take their time, to feel relaxed and unrushed taking time out of their busy lives to just be with their baby. We allow time for families to settle in and for some short relaxation. As well as learning the massage strokes there is time for theory, peer discussion and refreshments.
IAIM courses are a minimum of 5 weeks long. A National Evaluation was conducted across the UK and the author of the study noticed that some courses were taken over 4 weeks and some over 5 weeks among the sample, so she cross examined them and interestingly saw that those attending the full 5 week course had a higher mean total in terms of witnessing benefits. This research helps to consolidate the IAIMs belief that infant massage courses should last no less than 5 weeks to be advertised as such, and that one week can make a big difference! This has resulted in a high quality and widely endorsed 5 week parenting programme.
We do not spend the entire time massaging, but our programme is comprehensive. Led by your baby we take time to teach you how to massage a new body area each week building up to a full body routine. We are dedicated to baby massage and massage is what we focus on. We do not believe it to be beneficial to over stimulate babies by adding anything more.
Babies are our teachers and we are fully led by them throughout the class. We welcome all forms of baby communication and we encourage parents to see to their babies needs throughout the class. We can guide you to try out different positions depending on your baby's mood and age. Feeding, changing or rocking your baby are in no way a disruption to an IAIM instructor. Sometimes your baby may be asleep or fall asleep, sometimes they just might not want a massage at that moment - no problem. We won't massage a crying or sleeping baby. If your baby is not awake or not in the mood for a massage, and you will learn all about how to identify this and how to respect your baby's cues on our courses, our detailed colour handouts, spare dolls and weekly reviews mean you will find it easy to learn the full programme.
Did you know you can experience a release of oxytocin by just watching baby massage?
Fully Qualified Instructors
CIMIs (Certified Infant Massage Instructors) have taken extensive training with the IAIM and are fully qualified and insured. Our experienced instructors will guide you through the process delivering our highly accredited and endorsed programme safely whilst acknowledging that parents are the experts of their babies. In a world of conflicting opinions and unsolicited advice CIMIs are simply there to 'hold space' for their families and facilitate the classes without judgement or suggestion.
CIMIs will never massage your baby, we teach using our own demonstration dolls to ensure that you, the parent, are the one forming the deep emotional bonds formed through nurturing touch and listening to your baby's unique language.
The IAIM training course is accredited by the Royal College of Midwives, Embody and CTHA and has endorsements by world leading attachment experts such as Dr Marshall Klaus and Sir Richard Bowlby among many others.
Our programme is so much more than just massage strokes. Our cue based course encourages parents to really listen to their babies and we discuss just how much we can identify and respect our babies verbal and non-verbal communication with us. In turn, babies can learn empathy, respect and love by watching their parents and imitating them. The benefits of this include helping babies to feel securely attached, helping babies to feel valued, reduce crying and emotional distress, increased levels of relaxation and longer sleep. Massage also benefits the development of body awareness and coordination, relief from wind, colic, constipation and teething discomfort. A wonderful parenting tool and life skill. Parents also reap the benefits by feeling closer to their babies, gaining a deeper understanding of their behaviour, enjoying positive one to one time, feeling the relaxing effects of massaging their baby and an increase in confidence in the ability to care for and nurture their baby.
We are proud of our ethos and our mission statement: ‘The purpose of the International Association of Infant Massage is to promote nurturing touch and communication through training, education and research; so parents, caregivers and children are loved, valued and respected throughout the world community.’
The IAIM was founded by Vimala McClure in 1986. Following her experience of working in an orphanage in northern India in 1973, Vimala brought the traditional practice of infant massage to the West. She has since written many books including Infant Massage - a Handbook for Loving Parents.
Photo Credits: https://www.sadiewildphotography.com
IAIM Class: www.harrowbabies.co.uk