By Emily Sorensen
Is your baby tense, colicky or you just want a way to bond? Then maybe infant massage is right for you and your child.
Free infant massage classes are only one of a variety of free classes, services and more that Palomar Health is offering as part of First 5 San Diego, a statewide series of programs and parent education efforts offered to children between newborn and 5 years old.
The five-week series of infant massage classes teaches moms the best and safest way to massage their babies, offering bonding, comfort and some relief from discomfort caused by gas, colic and constipation. “It has a whole lot of great benefits,” said Cynthia Linder of Pomerado Hospital.
Each class focuses on a different part of the body, starting with the legs and feet, followed by the stomach, the chest and arms, the face and back, and finally the whole body. The classes also include education on the health and emotional benefits of infant massage.
Infant massage is offered about four times a year, and registration is required, though the classes are free. Moms should plan to attend all five classes.
“Nurturing touch is the first language of love,” said infant massage instructor Sofia Iniguez, who initially learned infant massage as a way to bond with her twin sons, who are now 13. Iniguez trained herself in massage, and now teaches what she learned to other new moms. “The goal is to encourage parents and promote more positive interaction between parent and baby,” said Iniguez. Iniguez said the techniques she teach are a mixture of infant massage, yoga and reflexology.
Infant massage isn’t just for mothers, said Iniguez. “Fathers play a significant role in bonding,” said Iniguez. “Touch and massage teach them to be nurturing and softer and gentler.” Children can also be taught some massage techniques, to help bond the new baby with his or her older siblings.
First 5 San Diego also offers a number of other health, learning, family and community services, including health and development screenings, parenting classes, and a kit for new parents. To find out more about what services are available in your area, or when the next infant massage class will be held, call 1-877-504-2299.