Brassey Children’s Centre, 2 Brassey Street, Birkenhead, CH41 8DA
0151 652 1916
South and West Locality
Pensby Children’s Centre, Fisher’s Lane, Pensby, CH61 8SD
0151 666 4819
Seacombe Children’s Centre, St Paul’s Road, Seacombe, CH44 7AN
0151 666 3506
For more information on what each children’s centre offers and where see their what’s guides in the links below.
Birkenhead What’s on Guide
South and West What’s On Guide
Wallasey What’s On Guide
Baby massage is a lovely way to soothe, calm and enjoy time with your baby. It can also help you bond with them.
Long before babies are able to speak, they communicate with the world around them through touch. The power of touch to soothe and heal is instinctive. If a baby cries, for example, we often cuddle them or stroke their back. Massaging your baby is an extension of this natural impulse.
You can start baby massage from birth though if your baby was premature, you may be advised to wait until they reach their due date. It’s usually better to wait until your baby is about six weeks old before going to a group session for baby massage, as very young babies can find the environment a little too busy and overwhelming.
Benefits of baby massage
There are lots of benefits to baby massage including:
- Being a great way of affirming your bond with your baby.
- Helping you become more confident in handling your child and better at recognising their needs.
- Research has shown that baby massage can help a mother have a positive interaction with her baby.
- It can be a great way for partners, grandparents and siblings to bond with the newest addition to the family.
- Regularly massaging your baby may help them to sleep and settle better too. Your baby’s muscles relax, and breathing becomes deeper as massage raises levels of the ‘feel-good’ hormone oxytocin in both you and your baby. This helps you both feel calmer and relaxed. (This can also help with breastfeeding).
Although massage is beneficial for all babies, it is particularly useful for those with special needs, such as Down’s syndrome or cerebral palsy, as it provides a unique way of communicating and soothing them.
Creating a relaxing environment for baby massage
Here are some tips to help you try baby massage at home:
- Choose a time when your baby is content and alert, not tired or hungry.
- Try sitting on the floor, bed or sofa, with your child safely on a towel in front of you.
- Find a position that’s comfortable, gives you good eye contact with no overhead lights and where your baby is warm.
- It’s up to you whether your child is nappy-free, but it can help to at least loosen the nappy when massaging the tummy.
- There are lots of lovely baby massage oils on the market but cold-pressed sunflower oil, is perfectly adequate.
- Your child may end up with some oil in their mouth, so you really want to make sure it’s safe (see our safety tips below).
It can be a nice idea to introduce a massage after bath and before bed as part of a bedtime wind-down.
How to massage your baby: getting started
Before beginning, ‘ask permission’ by rubbing a little oil between your hands near your baby’s ears, and ask ‘can I give you a massage?’ This may sound a little strange but your child will become familiar with this cue and know that massage is about to start. It also gives your baby a chance to let you know if they’re not feeling like a massage.
It’s great to massage the whole of your child’s body using a range of techniques. To get you started, we describe some strokes below for the legs and feet. You can repeat each stroke a few times, always responding to what your child seems to enjoy.
- Once you have ‘asked permission,’ gently hold one of your baby’s legs between your palms.
- Then, with one hand, hold your baby’s ankle securely. Mould your other hand around the top of your child’s thigh, then slide it down the leg towards the ankle. Aim for a ‘milking’ action – as if you were milking a cow!
- Then swap hands and repeat. Always keep your child’s ankle supported and use slow, flowing strokes.
- Next, cradle your child’s foot in your hands and use your thumbs to stroke over the sole of the foot from heel to toes, one thumb after another. This can also be done on the top of the foot. Gently squeeze and rub each toe between your thumb and finger.
- Then, holding your child’s foot in your hands, press the pads of your thumbs all over the sole of the foot, like a cat padding a cushion.
- Finish by repeating the ‘milking’ stroke in the opposite direction, i.e. from ankle to thigh.
Here are some tips to help you massage your baby safely:
- Avoid using oils that are scented, petroleum-based or contain nuts, as some oil might get into your baby’s mouth.
- When massaging your child’s arms or legs, always support the ankle or wrist with one hand.
- When massaging your child’s tummy with a circular motion, go clockwise rather than anti-clockwise.
Importantly, if your child becomes upset or falls asleep, stop massaging.
Enjoy baby massage
If your baby doesn’t seem to enjoy massage right away, don’t be downhearted. It’s a new experience for you both and it can take a bit of getting used to. Try a few minutes the first time and build up as your child gets more used to it.
There’s no reason why you can’t continue massaging your child into later childhood. Studies show this can have a positive effect, not just on your child’s physical health, but on their emotional wellbeing and relationships with others – including you!
Children’s centre’s run baby massage courses call in or phone your local children’s centre for more details.
2 Year Health & Education Integrated Review
What is a 2 to 2 ½ Year Health and Education Integrated Review?
- The Integrated Review for children aged 2 to 2½ will bring together parents views of their child’s development, as well as existing reviews that take place for children at around 2 years of age by Education and Early Years Child Care Providers (EYFS 2 year progress check) and the Health Visiting Service (Healthy Child Programme at age 2 to two and a half).
- Before the meeting (as soon as possible after the child’s second birthday): Parents will be asked to complete a ages and stages questionnaire (ASQ) with their child. Your child’s key person will complete a progress check on your child which will cover the three prime areas of their development: physical development, communication and language and social and emotional well being. The Link Health Professional (LHP) will weigh and measure your child and observe them at play in the child care setting. The Early Years Child Care Provider will arrange a meeting between the parents/carers, the Keyperson and the Link Health Professional to discuss the child’s progress.
- During the meeting parents, key person and LHP will discuss; parents views on their child’s development, key person’s views and the LHP’S views. An action plan will be developed to support the child if needed. The meeting may take up to 1 hour. If parents are unable to attend the review they can consent to the meeting going ahead without them.
What is the Healthy Child Programme?
The Healthy Child Programme is the universal public health programme for all children and families. It consists of a schedule of reviews, immunisations, health promotion, parenting support and screening tests that promote and protect the health and wellbeing of children from pregnancy through to adulthood. The health, wellbeing and development of the child at age two has been identified as one of the six high impact areas where health visitors can have a significant impact on health and wellbeing and improving outcomes for children, families and communities. The Healthy Child Programme Review at age two to two-and-a-half is a health focused review incorporating a review of child development, including social and emotional wellbeing.
What is an EYFS two year progress check?
- The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) is the statutory framework setting the standards for all early years providers for learning, development and care for children from birth to age five. The EYFS Progress Check at age two is a statutory point of assessment within this framework.
- To carry out the EYFS Progress Check at age two early years practitioners must review a child’s progress when they are aged between 24 and 36 months and provide parents with a short written summary of their child’s development in the prime areas: Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Communication and Language and Physical Development https://www.foundationyears.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/A-Know-How-Guide.pdf
What is the purpose of the Integrated Review?
The purpose of the review is to:
- Identify the child progress, strengths and needs at this stage in order to promote positive outcomes in health and well being, learning and behaviour
- Facilitate appropriate intervention and support for children and their families, especially those for whom progress is less than expected
- Generate information which can be used to plan services and contribute to the reduction of inequalities in children’s outcomes.
DH AND DfE joint Integrated Review Development Group January 2012
What will the review meeting include?
- The integrated review will cover the development areas in the current Healthy Child Programme 2 year review and the EYFS 2 year progress check, in a coherent, integrated way.
- The integrated review is not only about integrating the content of the reviews, but is also about drawing together the different skills and experience of the health and
- education practitioners working with the child, and will support information sharing and integrated working across health and education to support children’s healthy development.
What happens after the Integrated Review?
- The Link Health Professional will make sure that nay actions or referrals have been completed and review the progress that the child is making.
- For further information regarding the two to two and half year Health & Education Review please contact Wirral Health Visiting Teams by accessing the following: http://www.wirralct.nhs.uk/health-visiting
- Or the Early Years Quality Improvement Team: Contact tel no: 0151 666 3980 / e-mail: [email protected]
Is there any research done on the Integrated Review?
The following links contain research on integrated reviews: