Infant massage is a fun and fantastic way to bond with your new baby. In addition, infant massage stimulates all of Baby's systems: nervous, circulatory, respiratory, elimination and immune. "Infant massage has so many amazing benefits, the first being a unique and positive bonding experience for babies and caregivers," says Megan Greffen, CEIM, owner of This Little Piggy Infant Massage in Nashville. "Additionally, infant massage has been proven to help regulate sleep cycles, stimulate sensory development and help with tummy troubles!" Greffen adds.

INFANT MASSAGE CLASSES

Greffen says it's best to begin infant massage when Baby is at least full term. "I often start my practice with parents and babies when they're newborns — approximately 2 - 4 weeks of age," she says. You can opt for group or private classes in the Middle Tennessee area (see list below), including ones inside your own home. Group classes offer a fun way for you to make new friends and bond with them while bonding with your own baby. Most group classes take place in two or three sessions. "It can be a bit overstimulating for babies to try and fit it all in at once," Greffen says. The cost of infant massage classes vary, but you can expect to pay between $25 - $70. The number and type of classes factor into the price.

INFANT MASSAGE TECHNIQUES

The Mayo Clinic recommends the following preparation and basic techniques to get started: • Create a calm atmosphere — a warm, quiet place is best. Maintain eye contact with Baby. • Control your touch — be gentle and avoid tickling. • Slowly stroke and knead each part of Baby's body — spend one minute each on different areas including Baby's head, neck, shoulders, upper back, waist, thighs, feet and hands. • Stay relaxed — talk to Baby during the massage. Try singing a lullaby or telling a story. "Singing songs and repeating rhymes are fun ways to make the massage interactive and stimulating for infants," says Greffen. • Watch how Baby responds — if he jiggles his arms/legs and seems happy, Baby's likely enjoying the experience. If Baby turns his head away or appears restless, stop and try again later. "As Baby grows, the massage can become more playful or provide relaxation while experiencing discomfort with teething, learning to crawl/walk or transitioning to solid foods," says Greffen. The Mayo Clinic suggests talking to your baby's pediatrician before trying infant massage if your little one has underlying health issues. Like other baby scenarios, it might take a few tries before you get the hang of infant massage, so keep trying! It's a lovely way to share special time with your little bundle.

FIND A CLASS

Gaia Birth & Bodywork 615-426-1977 Group classes at Blooma Yoga, plus private sessions. Infant Massage USA Find nine Certified Educator of Infant Massage instructors in the greater Nashville area. Sara B. Dye Massage Therapy 615-579-3686 Classes in Murfreesboro. This Little Piggy Infant Massage 410-375-0003 Group classes at Baby + Co. plus in-home sessions.