This year is about to finish and I can’t be more grateful for all the things, projects and activities that I was involved in. From becoming a mother for the second time, to starting a new business venture and doing collaboration with top brands; 2017 has been amazing!
One of the most exiting projects that I was involved with this year was the Baby Massage Class with The JOHNSON'S Baby Healthy Skin Project.
In May of this year, JOHNSON´S Baby invited me to go to the launch of its Healthy Skin Project that was held in Melrose Arch. It was a very inspiring morning where Johnsons told us about their strategic partnership with Unjani Clinics and their goal of improving the health of 3 million babies by 2020.
Unjani is an initiative that aims to strengthen health systems in low income communities throughout South Africa by empowering community nurses to own and operate their very own clinic within their nearest community. This is an innovative delivery service model, whereby through a “container health care centre”, Unjani provides wellness services, chronic disease management, vision screen and primary healthcare.
During this event, JOHNSON´S Baby showed videos about the reality that lots of babies are facing in South Africa and all the diseases they suffer because their mothers don’t know how to care of their skin.
After that morning, I went home feeling very touched, with so many thoughts and wanting to be actively part of this project. My baby was 3 months old at the time and seeing her made me think of all those babies that I saw in the video and their moms who really need to be educated about the importance of taking good care of baby’s skin and other things that probably they don’t know.
That night, during the bath routine of my baby, while I was giving her a massage, I got this idea: I can teach these moms how to do a baby massage and this will help their babies to grow up healthier.
So I sent a proposal to Johnsons about this desire as this is very related with their Healthy Skin Project and they accepted!
3 years ago, when I had my son, I did a Post Natal Course at Sandton Clinic and learned how to do a baby massage. After this class (which was part of the program), I went home and did lots of research about this, I was really surprised about all the benefits that baby massage has on babies. Since that, this was a very important part of my everyday routine with my son and now it is with my baby daughter. I am not a certified massage therapist but I am a mom with lots of experience willing to share with other moms all that I have learned during this journey.
My first class was at the celebration of Woman’s Day at Unjani Kagiso in the West Rand.
It was a lovely morning along with other guests who talked and motivated moms about the importance of giving their best to their babies.
The second outing was in Unjani Hilbrow. In all my outings, I first explained how to do the massage in the baby dummy that I brought along and then we all did it on the babies together. I see how they do it and also give them extra tips.
The third class was at Unjani Olievenhoutbosch.
And the last class of the year was at Unjani Orlando, Soweto.
I always asked questions about who does the baby massage at home. Only a few of them do it but those few don’t know the benefits of a baby massage. Overall most of them haven’t done a baby massage in their life.
WHAT I TEACH IN MY CLASS
Baby massage is about learning to communicate your love for your baby through touch.
A study conducted by the University of Miami School of Medicine, suggests that the loving, gentle touch of massage “stimulates nerves in the brain that facilitates food absorption and lowers stress hormones, resulting in improved immune system functioning.”
This study highlights that infant massage can help a baby gain weight, especially preterm infants. When babies are underweight, they can also suffer a weaker body defense, as well as “delays in the emotional and mental development.” It points out that the sensory receptors, especially pressure receptors, are activated during massage, increasing gastric motility and lowering cortisol levels. This leads to greater weight gain and stronger immune system functioning for the child.
Other benefits of baby massage:
· Soothes baby and reduces crying.
· Aids digestion and helps relieve colic, wind and constipation.
· Helps babies to sleep more deeply and for longer.
· Relieves nasal congestion and teething discomfort.
· Helps develop good muscle tone, co-ordination and suppleness.
· Enhances body awareness.
· Boosts the immune system.
· Improves skin texture.
· Helps the baby to develop self confidence and the ability to relate to others.
· Helps calm and relax both parent and baby.
· Boosts parents’ confidence in handling their baby.
· Helps with Post-Natal Depression, as it is a beautiful way to connect with the baby.
What I love the most about these classes is the interaction and connection I have with the moms and babies and how the moms feel so happy and motivated to learn something that they will do at home.
I really wish they do their homework which is practicing what they practiced at the class but I am sure they will do it as after each session they come to talk to me and express their gratitude for what they learned. By doing a massage they wont only have a bonding time with their babies but will help them with their good development.
So far it has been a beautiful and fulfilling experience, my little students (babies) are the cutest creatures in the world, they laugh, giggle, they look at the other babies, they cry, they want to crawl, they roll from one side to the other, they smile and all these little gestures melt my heart…these classes are so much fun!
Many thanks JOHNSON'S Baby for having me on board with this project. Can’t wait for next year to carry on with the baby massage classes and other exciting projects that I have in mind related with Healthy Skin Project.