A good healthcare professional is always on the lookout for new strategies to best meet the needs of the families with we serve. When the good folks with the New Parent Support Program at Laurel Bay, a local military base, invited me almost a year ago to join a training for Teaching Infant Massage I was both grateful and excited.
As I moved through the elements of the training it became increasingly apparent that the family friendly language, strategies and skills of The HUG are a natural fit with the approach of Teaching Infant Massage. One of the International Association of Infant Massage goals of instruction for parent and baby is to encourage bonding and attachment through communication with the baby.
While teaching infant massage we are instructed to observe and support communication between parent and infant. My training and experience with the HUG added another important layer to that communication: the tools to describe and help the parent see what I was seeing in the body and behavior SOSs (signs of over stimulation), and to explore with the parent what their baby’s body language might be communicating.
When teaching Understanding Your Newborn I encourage parents to practice their ‘eyeball exercises’ at every opportunity. The time when parents practice massaging their infant affords them a specific opportunity to hone their observation skills for recognizing when their baby is becoming over-stimulated, and to practice ‘decreasing stimulation’ and ‘increasing support.’ I have discovered that applying these HUG techniques has helped parents watch their baby more discerningly, see when to modify or pause the massage and has enhanced the experience for parent and baby.
Now, after 10 months of study, practice teaching, reading and writing assignments and self-evaluation, I am pleased to report I am now an International Association of Infant Massage Certified Educator of Infant Massage.
Infant Massage USA Core Curriculum. IAIM Instructor Training. Received 1/25/16. www.iaim.net.
HUG Your Baby: Helping Parents Understand their Newborn (Part 1). http://hugyourbaby.org/understanding-the-newborn-part-i/
Expectant parents: Interested in a HUG class?
Parents of an infant: Interested in learning to massage your baby?