We often talk about the obvious, more physical benefits of baby massage and too often we overlook how beneficial and supportive baby massage is in developing the communication between caregiver and baby.
Whilst of course many babies who attend baby massage courses are generally at a non-verbal age, baby massage is fundamental in laying the foundations of and opening the gateway of communication between parent and baby.
The time, space and focus of a baby massage class is incredibly beneficial to aiding the communication for a parent and baby whilst also strengthening the neurological pathways needed for later communication.
It’s important to remember that in this instance we are of course not expecting our babies to be speaking verbally to us, instead we are focusing on developing the non-verbal communication between a parent and care-giver; good eye contact, physical cues and gestures to indicate you are both ready to start massage (this is why it is key for your baby to see you rubbing the oil between your hands at the beginning of a massage as this begins to develop cues and routines.)
Similarly, as we sing and chat to our babies during the massages this also enables them to hear different words and sounds which they will imitate and practice as their linguistic skills develop.
Our babies communicate their needs to us as they smile, babble, cry and gurgle and so by setting aside the time to completely focus on them and their needs as we massage, ensuring that good eye contact is maintained; this demonstrates to our babies that we respect them, we are listening to them and we will respond to them, all of which are key steps in developing those vital communication skills for later language development.