As a new mum, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of classes and courses on offer for tiny babies, but one activity that almost always receives positive feedback is baby massage.

According to the NCT, baby massage was introduced around 30 years ago in NICU wards, to support the development of premature babies. Today, baby massage is widely regarded as a bonding experience between mum and baby that offers many benefits for both.

Baby massage can be carried out on babies aged from four weeks to crawling age, and at each session, mums will learn a different part of the full body routine. Baby massage courses typically consist of five or six sessions.

Buump Active chatted to Lindsay Coupe, a trained massage therapist who offers baby massage courses to parents and carers in the Greater Manchester area, to get the lowdown…

Here are five reasons to give baby massage a try, according to Lindsay:

It’s a great way to bond with your baby

mom and child photo

“Babies have a unique relationship with their mum or primary caregiver.  Massage can help to develop this bond as it enables the parent to read their baby’s body language and respond to their changing needs with a greater level of awareness.

“Additionally, the massage session allows mum to focus entirely on the baby, and nothing else matters in that time. It’s a great way to have fun and to bond with your baby, and you will boost your communication, too.”

It stimulates and aids bodily functions

baby trying to get out of his crib

“Baby massage stimulates the body, including the lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems, and by stimulating these internal systems it aids their function.”

It provides relief for baby

baby laying on bed while woman massaging his back

“As babies grow at an exceptional rate, this can cause pain in their muscles. Massage can be used to release any tension and ease pain.

“There are also parts of the massage routine specifically designed to help with teething, nasal congestion, gas, colic and constipation. These techniques will come in very handy for new mums and equip and empower them to deal with issues as they arise.”

It’s relaxing!

sleeping baby covered in white cloth

“The relaxing nature of baby massage can help improve a baby’s sleep pattern. When a baby sleeps, their bodies are healing, recovering, growing and developing at a faster rate than adults.

It can also help to put your baby into a calmer state of mind.

“And, although inconclusive, there is anecdotal evidence that baby massage can help with a mother’s mental wellbeing, especially if she is suffering from postnatal depression or other issues.”

It’s a fantastic way to make friends

woman carrying baby with two ladies beside her smiling

“It goes without saying that baby massage courses are a great way to make friends with like-minded mums, with children of a similar age.  Although my classes are quiet and relaxing while the massage techniques are being taught, we always offer the chance for the mums to have a brew and a natter afterward, and it’s great to see friendships being formed. I’d highly recommend baby massage to all new mums!”

You can find local baby massage courses by using the NCT’s course finder, or by checking out your local baby centers for independent practitioners.