Benefits of Baby Massage - with Gayle Berry
The experience of massage for both you and your baby can be so rewarding.It is a chance for just the two of you to have a quiet, bonding moment. I had the pleasure to interview Gayle Berry – founder of Blossom & Berry. She is an author, International Lecturer and Expert on Baby Massage & Yoga.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Blossom and Berry?
In everything we do at Blossom & Berry we teach love.
Our teachers love what they do and it shines through their work and classes. They are Nurture Ambassadors. Our classes focus jointly on the health and wellbeing of parents as much as babies. Parents are children's first teachers and we know relaxed, positive parents help to create relaxed, secure and positive children.
Nurturing touch, massage and yoga is so powerful for parents and babies because it communicates love through hormones that support social connection, relaxation and physical health and it provides a nurturing, loving and supportive environment to build relationships and bond. When we invest in love and empathy, big changes can flow from this and the impact can be beneficial for us all.
We have over 1000 teachers across the world and we have a new range of wild wellbeing courses that teach the power of mindfulness in nature.
I founded Blossom & Berry in 2001 as a result of my experiences as a nervous new mother, feeling lost and unsure how to make my daughter happy.
My daughter Emily was very unsettled as a baby. I wanted to calm, soothe and bond with her but she was very colicky in the early weeks and cried a lot and I lost my confidence in understanding her needs and what I should be doing. I discovered baby massage and it transformed my life empowering me to embrace my role as a mother and respond to everything Emily needed as I tuned into my instincts and into her cues.
It sent me on an incredible journey that would completely change my life. I went from a city lawyer to a baby massage instructor and through my successful business practice I have been able to completely love my job, find my passion in life and spend time with my three children as they have grown up. This has been my greatest joy.
You also co-founded the charity Love Support Unite. Please tell us more about the work you do and the impact it has.
Our Nurture Foundation in conjunction with Love Support Unite helps to reach the most vulnerable parents and babies with our free training and community projects. This is how we make an impact and effect hundreds of parents and babies across the world everyday. We teach safe motherhood education and early infant health in the community in Malawi and offer free training to orphanages working with babies. We donate 10% of your baby massage enrolment to our projects in Malawi.
What are the benefits of baby/ infant massage?
Baby massage and yoga are tools to develop a strong and secure attachment between a parent and baby. Developing a secure attachment in childhood is the foundation of mental and physical health and the effects last a lifetime influencing health, wealth and education. Baby massage also helps to stimulate baby’s muscles and the nervous system as well as supporting digestion and circulation.
What do parents need to get started?
Some baby massage oil (organic Sunflower Seed oil is best), a towel and some time to get present.
How long should a baby massage be?
As long as the baby wants it to be. Its always baby led so can be 30 seconds or 30 minutes.
What are some simple techniques parents can use at home?
This is better dealt with on a video if possible
Can you provide suggestions for more specific problems that parents face with their babies e.g. teething or colic?
Can you recommend some resources?
We have lots of free guides to baby massage on our website www.blossomandberry.com
I personally loved baby massage sessions when my children were babies. I sometimes wish we could have continued the journey. Can the techniques be applied to older children as well?
Yes you can do the techniques with older children using songs, stories or rhymes. I still massage my teenage children now. It's a way to connect at any age.
Infant massage has become popular over the past few decades. You also offer training in baby yoga classes. Can you tell us more about baby yoga and whether you think it will also become more common practice in the future?
Baby yoga is already very popular and has its roots in developmental play. Movement is how babies understand their bodies and their environment. In baby yoga we use movement, songs and nurturing touch to stimulate baby’s nervous system.
If parents want to sign up to a class, what advice would you offer them to find something in their local area? Where could we find Blossom & Berry practitioners?
If you google baby massage in your local area with the words “Blossom & Berry” you should find one of our amazing teachers.
Thank you so much Gayle for your time and insight. Your love and passion for baby massage and yoga is so inspiring.
I hope you enjoyed this short, simple introduction to baby massage that you can confidently add it to your routine more often to help relieve your baby from discomfort and help them drift off to sleep with ease.
Leave a comment below to share your bab massage experiences.
Oh...don’t forget: our award-winning GENTLE TOUCH 3-in-1 Massage Oil is perfectly designed for the massage-bathtime-bedtime routine. You can use one product for massage, cleansing and moisturizing - and is made of natural ingredients that are ideal for baby’s skin. You can order it here.