Many years ago I worked as a carer for children with severe disabilites. I was in the library one day in between shifts and got this book out of the library. Although for babies, the book was very interesting and gave me some great ideas for massage techniques to help the little chidlren I was looking after.
When Joseph was born, I immediately bought this book. I had remembered that it contained a chapter on baby massage with babies in incubators and techniques for introducing touch when kangaroo care and cuddles are just not possible. I knew it would be possible for Joseph and I to have special time together even when he was in a box with wires and tubes impeding access.
I started when he was 2 days old, I was given permission to touch him. I started with his feet. At this time, and it seems so improbably now, his foot was the size of the first joint of my thumb. It was tiny. I did alternate feet, as he usually had a probe on one of them. I would also massage his tiny fingers and hands, but stopped this once he had a long line in his hand.
One of the consultants, who was Indian, was watching me one day. He spent quite a few days observing Joseph (and I suppose, me as well). One day, when he had a huge entourage of students with him, he asked me what I did all day with him. I explained about the massage, the containment holding, the reading, the singing etc. He said that I had done amazing things for his development and was to continue massage at least three times a day. He even wrote it up on a prescription pad!
After discharge, I continued doing baby massage, and as soon as we were able, we did formal classes funded by our local Sure Start Centre. Now Joseph is a very busy toddler, but at the end of the day he lies down to get in his sleeping bag, smiles, and says "foot", and stays still for a little massage.
Tomorrow's post is a guest post by a dear friend and work colleague, Tina, who, with her business partner, runs Baby Massage Works.