As a maternity nurse you are an experienced and qualified specialist in providing fundamental advice and care to parents and newborns. Your role not only involves providing services such as feeding and establishing a sleep routine, but also encouraging the family and instilling confidence in their skills. You are there to reassure parents and provide emotional support in the first few weeks. Basically make the transition to parenthood relaxed and enjoyable.
The benefits of baby massage are too numerous to list but highlighting the most beneficial aspects will shed light onto why, as a Maternity Nurse, having the baby massage teaching certificate will enhance your skills and subsequently, advance your career. An article written by Kristen Montgomery, PhD, RNC, IBCLC outlines thirteen challenges to the Maternity Nursing practice with the third challenge being patient and family teaching.
Baby massage is an amazing way to teach parents how to interact with their newborn. During massage sessions, parents will gain confidence and be more comfortable handling their infant. They will become more acquainted with their child’s normal state making it easier to identify future times when baby is uncomfortable or in a state of distress. Overall, it will help parents interpret their newborn’s responses better.
As a maternity nurse you provide parents this amazing tool to communicate with their new child. Along with helping the family become more comfortable handling their newborn, baby massage offers physical, emotional and psychological benefits to baby and mum. Organized into three major benefits, learning to instruct baby massage will enhance your skills as a maternity nurse simply by equipping you with the tools to help mum and baby.
Physical Benefits for Baby
The physical benefits of baby massage for baby are incredible. It stimulates circulatory, respiratory, nervous and immune systems. About 10% to 30% of all newborns suffer from colic. By stimulating the digestive system, baby massage techniques help greatly in relieving the abdominal pain caused by colic and constipation. Studies show that baby massage can reduces stress and anxiety in baby if there was a traumatic birth. Premature or underweight babies benefit as well as baby massage encourages weight gain without increasing the volume of feed given. The last benefit to be stressed is the improvement of sleep patterns. Since baby massage will generate greater understanding of baby cues, parents will know when their child is tired and help get them into a routine. The gentle massaging of baby will soothe and relax her into a gentle sleep.
Emotional Benefits for Mum
Not only does baby benefit, but mums too. Often times with a new birth, mums will have feelings of anxiety, isolation and a sudden lack of confidence. Baby massage offers an opportunity for baby and mum to spend uninterrupted quality time together. Mum will be able to recognise, understand and respond to different cues from her baby. Learning to interpret the behaviour of their newborn through massage will help the bonding process and increase self-confidence in mum. This is especially beneficial to mothers suffering from postnatal depression.
Psychological Benefits for Baby and Mum
Postnatal depression affects 1 in 10 mothers in the UK. Massage has the potential to improve infant-mother interactions as sessions specifically encourage mums to look at, understand, and interact with their babies in a pleasurable way. This has proven to directly improve mother-infant interaction. A pilot study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that mums that attended baby massage sessions had improved maternal depression and mother-infant interactions. While the exact parts of baby massage that decrease postnatal depression are still under debate, it is agreed upon that the likely culprit is the increased positive interactions that calm baby and make mum feel more of a connection.
While these three benefits may not do enough to convince you to obtain your Infant Baby Massage certification, another study may. There has been an article published which calls for the NHS to get in on the action. Vivette Glover, Professor of Perinatal Psychobiology at Imperial College in London published a paper entitled Seminars in Neonatology (2002). She explains that crying and sleeping problems within a maternity ward in the first 12 weeks costs the NHS £65m a year in consultations with health visitors and GPs and points out the potential cost benefits of employing an Infant Massage Instructor in postnatal services at maternity hospitals. So not only would being a qualified Infant Massage Instructor help if you were a private nanny but it could open doors for other employment opportunities.
In the end, being qualified in a wide array of specialties will always be more beneficial than not. Becoming certified in teaching Infant Massage will make parents feel as though they are getting the whole package when choosing to employ you specifically. By getting your certification you are investing into yourself and your future career as a Maternity Nurse. It is a step in the right direction if you are looking for something else or would like to challenge yourself to something new!
- David W. Hide and Barry M. Guyer, “Prevalence of infant colic,” Archives of Disease in Childhood 57(1982): 559-600.
- Kristen S. Montgomery, “Maternal-Newborn Nursing: Thirteen Challenges That Influence Excellence in Practice,” The Journal of Perinatal Education 10(2001): 31-40.
- O’Higgins, I. St. James Roberts, V. Glover, “ Postnatal depression and mother and infant outcomes after infant massage,” Journal of Affective Disorders 109(2008): 189-192.
- “The benefits of baby massage,” International Therapist: 4-5.