The benefits of baby massages – Hayley Matthews

After a massage, the look on Hayley's baby's face is one of sheer bliss (Picture: Michael Gillen)
After a massage, the look on Hayley's baby's face is one of sheer bliss (Picture: Michael Gillen)
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When chatting over a year ago to mum-of-two Kathryn Lawrence, on ­giving up her full-time job to concentrate on life as a Daisy ­Birthing antenatal teacher, I’d had no idea that one day soon I’d be one of her mums reaping the benefits of baby massage.

I did baby massage classes with my first son when he was little. ­However, I’m really enjoying Kathryn’s class more as it incorporates massage, movement, tips and techniques to settle and soothe babies. I leave every class having learned something new and feel more confident as a parent.

I’m delighted Kathryn now spends her days working with mums and babies, running The Daisy Foundation Edinburgh because I couldn’t imagine her doing anything else as us mums need other mums leading the peer support system in Edinburgh.

I’d never fully appreciated her expertise until experiencing one of her classes with Oryn, who I’ve just booked in for his second term of Daisy Baby Tinies. The look on his face after massage can only be described as sheer bliss. Every Thursday I WhatsApp my partner a picture of Oryn completely zonked on the floor at Tribe Portobello to show how well the techniques work. I could list the benefits I’ve discovered at baby massage or could just show you a cute picture of Oryn after class.

It’s not just about the babies but the mums too who have peer support from pregnancy onwards throughout their mothering journey. Kathryn told me her favourite part of her job is seeing bumps become babies and ­seeing mums on their journey too. She also leads the positive birth movement in Edinburgh and is a member of the Edinburgh Birth and Baby team which are all well informed organisations in Edinburgh offering mums (and mums-to-be) classes and support.

I’m reaping the benefits of baby massage just now and love that each week we have a topic to discuss, give each other advice and offer an ear whilst arranging where to go for coffee and cake after. It’s a community of mothers who are all in a similar ­situation which makes it easy to just be a mum.

I was quite honest at the last class about getting a once weekly hair wash and no shower for days because I chose a sleep the last time I had the opportunity of 20 minutes alone in the bathroom. I love how none of the mums judge and can all be quite ­honest with each other, it makes me feel normal.

I can now see why Kathryn is so popular with mums and experienced this when recently when standing on Portobello High Street, and every mum with a buggy stopping to say hello whilst giving an update on their child. She’s very well liked and has been shortlisted for a MAMA award in May at the Glasgow conference.

I’m not surprised in the slightest that she’s up for antenatal teacher of the year and have full confidence in her to win because this is a woman who understands pregnancy, birthing, babies, parenting and everything else in between.

She gives her life and soul to her mums and babies and after six years of antenatal teaching is like a mothering guru. Having someone who doesn’t judge in the slightest, who is supportive and positive about the birthing/parenting process I’ve found constructive in having a massively positive effect on me in my early months as Oryn’s mum.

We all need a Kathryn in our lives if us mums are expected to function. Our Thursday baby massage is the highlight of my week and Oryn clearly takes his love of massage from me, so if I can just teach him to give my back a rub then we’re sorted!