Through a partnership between Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP's) Integrative Health, Primary Care, South Philadelphia, and Disilvestro Playground and Recreation Center, local families had the opportunity to participate in a four-part series infant massage class. The class was offered on Wednesdays in the late morning. Response was robust, with 20 families who expressed interest and 17 of those families participated in one or all of the classes offered.
Relaxing music played in the background while parents were on mats and blankets prepared to massage their babies. Each week the focus was on different body areas and routines to help with common challenges like teething, gas, congestion and growing pains. In addition to learning massage techniques, families were encouraged to learn relaxation, focusing and grounding exercises to help facilitate self-care and parent-infant connection. Parents also developed skills in learning their baby’s verbal and non-verbal engagement cues.
Families shared their experiences with building infant massage into their daily routines, as well as teaching their partners and other caregivers the massage techniques. Families loved this class and asked for more offerings in the future. They expressed appreciation for the teachers, educational materials, and the opportunity to share their own experiences. Many reported that massage has helped their baby sleep better and reduced gas and discomfort, and they loved bonding with their baby during the awake alert period.
The hope is to offer more of these classes at the South Philadelphia location and potentially other locations as well.