I was very pleased to be invited along to observe a class led by Sarah Lewis held at the Drayton Centre on Wednesday 13th November 2013. For those who haven’t heard of the Lazy Daisy Chain, it was founded by Julie Long and 9 years later they are the official class partners of UK Charity Mama Academy, and work with nationwide retailers such as Mothercare and Kiddicare. They were one of the first pregnancy movement programmes to gain approval by FEDANT (the Federation of Antenatal Educators) and have a team of hugely dedicated teachers throughout the UK.
Sarah Lewis, previously a primary school teacher, trained with Lazy Daisy 18 months ago following the home birth of her son. She wanted a way to help mums understand their bodies and know how to work with them during labour. Initially training to teach antenatal classes, just 6 months later, she trained to teach baby classes and now runs Lazy Daisy birthing classes and baby massage in Portsmouth.
So what happens at a baby massage class?
On arrival you will find yoga mats set out in a daisy shape with a little pillow for each baby. Sarah sits in circle with mums, with their babies laid in front of them. The session begins with introductions, calming music begins (which is written specifically for the classes), and mothers are encouraged to make eye contact with their infant and make soothing noises, accompanied by gentle stroking. Sarah uses a doll to demonstrate the movements required and gentle chants and rhymes to accompany them.
Now that the babies are feeling relaxed, they are stripped down to nappies and the mothers follow Sarah’s lead to massage baby from head to toe using baby oils. Not a sound from any baby by this point other than the odd contented gurgle. The calming music continues whilst Sarah talks to the mothers and encourages them.
Mid way, there is a break for the children to feed, get dressed and cuddle with their mothers whilst biscuits are shared out and everyone can chat. Everyone appears relaxed and some take the opportunity to catch up and swap news.
Once all the babies are dressed, the mothers are invited to stand for some singing and dancing with the children. At this point I join in – I’ve brought my one year old son with me who is too old for the massage class, and far more interested in crawling away from me and examining small particles on the floor, but this is something we can do with everyone else.
We’re led through movements to popular rhymes and nursery songs and the babies clearly enjoy the movement and being able to see each other in the circle. The session closes with some stretches after all the lifting.
It’s worth noting that all the children in the class were content throughout. This is not a coincidence, the activities were perfectly pitched and all the participants seemed to really enjoy the session. The feeling in the room was welcoming and inclusive and it seemed to me that the mothers present had bonded with each other as well as enjoying a lot of quality time with their baby. I thoroughly enjoyed the session and I would have no hesitation in recommending these classes.
Really, though, I can’t put it better than Sarah says herself:
“I think parents get so much from the classes. They get quality bonding time with their baby which they can then repeat at home – many parents use the massage routines at bedtime as away of winding down with their baby. We chat about calming techniques and all sorts of parenting issues and I think it helps mums to realise that other babies are doing the same as theirs (eg. not sleeping!). The best thing is when mums go away having made friends with the other mums in the class. I love hearing that they still meet up as I think these friendships are so important when you’re a new parent.”
Sounds good, where do I sign up?
There are currently two baby massage classes running. There is a new term starting at Waterlooville this week on Friday 22nd November 2013 from 10 am – 11 am. Drayton is mid way through the term, and the new term for that class will commence on Wednesday 8th January 2014. Another new course will commence in Waterlooville on Friday 10th January 2014. The classes run for 6 weeks and cost £40.
Sarah also runs ante-natal classes and the next course will take place in Cosham during the week commencing 6th January 2014 also running for 6 weeks and costs £54. The ante-natal classes combine yoga-inspired movement, breathing techniques, birth education and relaxation.
You can contact Sarah by phone on 07837 647 713
And for the latest information you can go to her facebook page:
And finally, I’d like to say thank you to all the mothers at the class who allowed me to join them.