Baby Massage for Dummies

When I first became a mom over a decade ago, I wasn’t working at the time, and my then husband was still finishing up his studies. So I cashed in a small investment I had to buy all the baby essentials I was convinced I needed. You know; a pram, a high tech baby monitor, a breast pump. Being a bit addicted to buying books, I got a few of those as well.

One of them probably changed the course of my life. I must have had some deep need showing up from my own babyhood, or perhaps it was indicative of the lack of connection in the doomed marriage I was in. Either way, I thought it was imperative that I learned how to massage my baby.

I bought the only book I could find on the topic: Baby Massage for Dummies by Joanne Bagshaw and Ilene Fox, and what a gem it turned out to be! I didn’t have very high expectations, I mean it was a ‘for Dummies’ series book after all, but it was clear and easy to follow and indeed taught me how to massage by baby.

Even more importantly, it was in this book that I was first introduced to the term Attachment Parenting. And it was this book that affirmed my own need to carry and wear my baby. And that babies cannot be spoilt with love.

There is so much conflicting information out there when you first become a mom. And it’s just so hard to follow your own intuition when you’re so new to it all.

I remember my own mom saying that a baby should not be held too much, that their little bodies get sore. Which is something that her mom had told her, and it was affirmed for her by little baby me being hysterical at the end of a day of being at a function where I was passed around and held by a lot of different people…

Are you guys picking up the probable reason for my big feelings? I am sure it was less likely that my body was sore, and most likely I had spent the day overwhelmed, feeling scared and confused being held by strangers. At the end of the day, back in my mothers arms, I felt safe to release all those pent up feelings.

Baby massage was a wonderful practice of connection for myself and my son after a traumatic postpartum period. I spent 11 days in ICU and hospital without him from when he was 3 – 14 days old. Turns out that breast pump I bought came in handy too to keep my milk supply flowing. Baby massage was a wonderful way for us to reconnect.

I went on to deep dive into googling Attachment Parenting and read voraciously on the topic. It was so different to what my mom, my aunt and those few friends of mine who had children were doing. But it felt so natural…

I joined a group of American ladies who ran an informational website on Natural Parenting – a combination of Attachment Parenting and just plain ol crunchiness. I also started my own blog. I wanted everyone to know how happy and healthy my baby was, and how connected and happy I felt. It was a wonderful time of discovery and sharing for me.

My third child and I have had a challenging postpartum period too. She started off with a severe and genuine breastfeeding aversion and then we later realised she had congenital cataracts. She has has had two eye surgeries and now wears thick glasses at 7 months old.

Sorting out our bookshelves lead me down memory road when I found the Baby Massage for Dummies book again and I happily felt that massage is something that is going to help little baby M and I reconnect and repair after a traumatic first few months.

I am sure I would’ve started on this path of Attachment Parenting, and then later Aware Parenting even if it were not for this book, as this parenting journey has been a soul calling. But I am grateful to this little unassuming book nonetheless.

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