Taos First Steps, a program of Holy Cross Hospital, Teaches Parents and Caregivers techniques and Benefits of Infant Massage. All 10 of the First Steps home visitors have recently completed infant massage training through the International Institute of Infant Massage in Albuquerque. The training is a very full experience designed to train instructors to teach infant touch and massage to parents and caregivers.
Through the Institute the First Steps Home Visitors complete the certification process, which includes participation in a four-day training program. They are now in the process of completing a peer review take-home exam, which includes a practicum of teaching five families throughout the next four month period.
Home Visitors Jeannie Ross and Molly MacCracken have been certified in infant massage for the past five years. The eight remaining First Steps Home Visitors are completing the certification process. They provide free training to families of children 0-3 years of age through group massage classes and one-on-one facilitation with families.
Infant massage helps to build relationships between parent and child. It helps them to connect and is a form of non-verbal communication that could be an alternative to some medications. It teaches parents to touch their babies with intention. In the past 3 decades infant touch and massage has become recognized as a powerful means to promote infant development, attachment with caregivers, and a multitude of physiological and emotional benefits.
Techniques can be used throughout a lifetime. Benefits of massage for baby include:
Relief from teething, congestion, gas, colic, and emotional stress
Bonding with parents and caregivers
Skin, brain and nervous system stimulation and building of new connections
Increase oxygen and nutrient flow to cells
Helps support organization and regulation of nervous system
Encourage midline orientation
Help baby to sleep deeper and longer and learn to relax
Helps stimulate circulatory systems and digestion
Helps child to feel heard and acknowledged
Helps baby increase threshold for the stimulation of touch
Benefits for parents:
Helps parents to feel more confident in their role and parenting skills
Helps ease stress of working parents who is not with their child during the day
Increase parents ability to help relax the child in times of stress
Daily massage offers time for parents to relax and unwind
Provides intimacy and special time for fathers and their children
It’s fun and relaxing
The First Steps Home Visitors were fortunate to have the opportunity to train with Master trainer of instructors Maria Mathias, an early pioneer in the field of Infant Touch and Massage. In the 80s, she was a pioneer in facilitating the first infant massage classes in hospitals, and then facilitated the first infant massage fathering classes. Later in that decade, she facilitated instructor trainings that introduced infant touch and massage in Australia and in Italy. Since 2005 she has been facilitating annual trainings in Taiwan and Seoul, South Korea.
For more information or if interested in infant massage call the First Steps office 751-5764.