Crying Babies and Infant Massage Classes

The scene is all too familiar with new parents: they have no idea why their baby is crying.  That sweet little baby has been fed, changed, swaddled, hugged, kissed, rocked.  You name it, it has been done.  However, the baby is still crying.  The feeling of desperation can come over a parent: are they doing something wrong? Is there something more serious wrong with their child?  And what about when the baby is crying during an infant massage class, or while grocery shopping? New parents can feel as those others are judging them.  But what if we said… this just normal baby behavior?

“A person is a person, no matter how small” -Dr. Seuss

Typically, crying is seen as a negative response to something: be it an infant does not like what is happening to him or her, or she or he needs something that is not being provided.  However, when working with new parents their newborn, it is important to understand that crying is not always a negative reaction, but it is a reaction that is important to take notice of for future interactions.  Plus, with crying being the main form of communication for an infant, a cry can be just a release of emotions.

Baby Led Classes  

Our infant massage classes are designed with this in mind.  We believe that the most importantreaction our instructors when can have to a crying infant is to reassure the parent(s) crying is completely acceptable and normal during an infant massage class.  Allowing parents to not feel embarrassed about his or her crying child will open the door for the parent to focus on the needs of the child, not on the perceived need of the group to have completely silent babies.  We do not pass judgment towards the parents on how they comfort their child: after all, we believe that parents are the experts on how to care for their child.  We stress that all of our classes are baby-led, meaning we have no standards that must be met at the end of class time. If a parent needs to leave early, step into a quiet room, walk around outside, or simply hold their baby, they can do and know they will not be missing something vital to the class.  Handouts with all the strokes are given the first day of class to ensure that parents will remember the strokes, even once they have left the class. Plus, our instructors are available by phone or email after the class is complete.  And if that contact is not enough, we offer private lessons to go over any questions that may have arose.

An opportunity to learn

Once the baby has stopped crying, a discussion can be sparked within the class about the reasons babies cry.  As instructors, our job is not to interpretive why a child is crying, but guide a discussion that builds off the expertise of the various parents in the class.  Maybe another parent has learned a great way to hold their baby that is full proof way to stop them from crying.  Or maybe another parent needs to be reminded that other baby’s also cry, despite what they read online about babies only a few weeks old sleeping through the night. All in all, a crying baby is not a reason to be nervous about showing up to an infant massage class, in fact, it might even be more of reason to come to one!