Aqua movement - warm water massage for babies
Aqua Movement is a warm water program which combines elements of massage, floating, stretching and creates a feeling of well being.
Massage is about touch, skin to skin contact and using warm water is a wonderful medium to create this. The weightlessness of the water allows more freedom of movement for young babies.
Over the past 20 years, I have done a lot of research into understanding babies and the need for both parents to be actively involved in nurturing and promoting the tactile, visual and audio senses of their baby.
During the nine month gestation, baby is being supported and surrounded by amniotic fluid, this provides an ideal safe, comfortable and nurturing environment which we need to continue when baby is born. I feel that this is an essential part of baby's development and well being.
An Aqua Movement program can be cost free, you only require a bath tub with warm water and a loving parent. Where possible I encourage Dad to actively participate in the program as it gives him 'one on one' time to further bond with baby ?it also gives Mum time to have a little break. You can add to the feeling of relaxation for both parent and baby by dimming the lights or burning an essential oil.
The program starts from birth in the baby bath. It should be large enough for the baby to be surrounded by warm water. In the photograph to the right, Dad is gently cradling Aiden with one arm and using his free arm to softly massage.
The bath should be more than just a place to wash baby, it should be a place for fun and adventure. In the beginning, a new parent may be a little unsure at bath time, baby can sense this which can lead to a dislike or fear of the water. Give thought to bath time, make sure the water is the right temperature; baby is not hungry or unsettled and play some relaxing, soothing music.
Going into the big bath or shower is a great experience. As you can see by the above photographs, the babies are extremely relaxed, happy and comfortable at this early age. Experiment with different positions and ways of holding your baby in the water, using your free hand where possible for gentle massage. Move the baby around in the bath as much as possible, baby will respond to the feel of the water.
In the first photograph, hands are held close together, thumbs over shoulders, baby's chin is supported and he is pushing off the bath. Gently swish the baby from side to side this will help to promote movement. This same position can be used for back floating as most babies are comfortable on their back at this age.
When taking baby into the shower, cradle baby close to you and make sure the water pressure is soft. If the baby is being passed to you, always get the person outside the shower to test the temperature. Photograph 3 is a wonderful position, try to place baby's heart as close to yours as possible, keep baby warm by putting handfuls of water over them. Placing baby's back on your chest gently moving hips and legs in water. Photograph 4 Reece is cradled in his dad's arm giving him total freedom of the water.
Babies enrolled in our Aqua Movement program, move from the bath to the swimming pool at 6 - 8 weeks. We are able to do this as we have extensive teaching experience, our pool is warm, quiet and environmentally pleasing - these elements are key factors in our program.
Never leave your baby unattended in or around the water. We lose too many of our babies to bath tub drowning.
The Aquatic environment is a wonderful playground for you and your baby.
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