Nurturing Touch Bringing Families Together

I am a newly qualified IAIM instructor and loving every minute of working with mums, dads and babies. I am due to start working with another group of parents and babies this week and am so looking forward to the exciting and rewarding time ahead.

One of my many other roles in life is working with struggling families and I just wanted to share observations I made recently with a mum who had a child in foster care, but now with support, the child and a new baby are back home with her.

During the meeting I observed massage techniques being used to calm the toddler down and the mum having meaningful eye contact and loving touch with the baby. Wow! So powerful to see and it came naturally too!

When chatting to the mum she put a big emphasis on how infant massage had helped her with bonding and she said she loved seeing the reaction from the children and the feeling it gave her as a mum. Ah! It was one of those heart-warming moments and made me think how powerful massage can be for foster, adoptive and rehabilitated parents.

Many children in this situation have experienced neglect and abuse so massage will help them to release pent up negative feelings, stress, fear and anger enabling them to feel safe to accept love and nurturing.

Massage just maybe the one consistent thing in that child’s life as his/her needs are consistently responded to and he/she learns to trust the carer. It will also compliment the warm, caring, affectionate and nurturing environment the foster parent or adoptive parent has provided.

As Vimala said,
“Massaging your baby whether you are an adoptive or a foster parent can be one of the best things you can do both for yourself and your child, to create loving, relaxed, open, healthy bonds that will stay with your child for his or her entire life.”

I really feel the IAIM programme is a great tool to support foster carers and adoptive parents as the child they are bringing into their family will probably have a complex history and a variety of emotional and physical needs. Being able to offer this support until the child is 7 years old is valuable too maybe in a one to one or specialised foster/adopters/rehabilitated parenting group.

It’s certainly worth spreading the word to local authorities and agencies working with these families – Nurturing Touch Bringing Families Together and helping to prevent social problems surfacing in later life.

Christine Scott

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