Asking Permission: A Vital Step for Parents
Start the massage by asking permission from your baby, and interpreting their response. This offers the baby respect, recognizes that they are a unique being with their own needs, and encourages them to communicate their needs to us in an interactive way.
Choose a good time for the baby when she or he is well-rested, alert and interested in a new activity. Often this is will be a few minutes after waking when they are looking around in a quiet way.
Prepare the baby for the massage, talking to them about your plans as you set up the environment and remove their clothes.
Rub some oil on your hands and let baby hear and enjoy the swishing sound as you warm it between your palms. Show your baby your open, oiled hands, holding them close to your own body.
Ask your baby if s/he would like a massage. Use the language that you usually use with your baby, and use a key word each time, such as “massage” to alert your baby to the plan.
Then watch as your baby responds. Does she look at you? Does he reach out for your hands? How does your baby’s facial expressions, body posture, sounds change to indicate readiness or resistance? Is your baby saying “yes”? Or “no”?
If the baby is saying “yes” with their body, then rest your hands on the area where you are going to start the massage. If the baby seems to be saying “no”, respond to the needs which they are showing. Perhaps baby will be ready in a few minutes, or a bit later in the day.
With experience, you will recognize your baby’s cues – how they tell you yes and no, or indicate that their interest, is running out. Throughout the massage you will want to watch your baby’s cues so that you know when to stop – ideally before your baby bursts into tears to tell you they have had enough.
Your massage time with your baby will teach you a lot about how to read your baby. And what you learn during the massage and in your class will make your life easier, and help you and your baby be more in tune with each other.