Parents can now form an even stronger bond with their newborns by mastering the skill of baby massage.
Michelle Pratt has founded Great Harwood’s first ever baby massage company, which aims to incorporate principles of yoga and Swedish massage to relax babies and help them form a closer relationship with their new parents.
She launched the scheme after she realising there was unmet local demand.
Mum-of-two Michelle, 32, now wants to raise awareness of massage and its benefits. She said: “In countries across the world it’s just a natural thing for mothers to instinctively massage a baby, but in our culture it doesn’t seem to be a well recognised activity to do with your baby.
“Everybody has a different birth experience and a different pregnancy, so this just helps to boost the bond between the parent and the baby.
“There are physical benefits as well with all the things babies struggle with on a day-to-day basis such as colic, or reflux. The babies really enjoy that skin to skin contact, they get so relaxed.”
Michelle added: “There are sceptics out there but you’re always going to have somebody who doubts what you’re doing.
“In the last 12 months I think it has moved away from being a hippy new age thing for ‘organic’ mums and it has become a lot more accessible.”
The Nurture Baby Massage sessions take place in a quiet, ‘spa-like’ environment at the Great Harwood Neighbourhood Centre, and are designed for babies from birth up to six months old.
Each week Michelle teaches how to safely massage a different body part, culminating in a full baby body massage, a skill that involves reflexology, and is a recognised form of therapy.
Michelle, of Holgate Street, registered as an official baby massage instructor with the International Association of Infant Massage three years ago, and also works in the children’s department for Lancashire County Council.
She said: “The training was really intense but I just absolutely loved it.
“One of the reasons why I kept the business in Great Harwood was that I wanted to stay local and establish it in the community and give something back to where I am living.
“Everybody’s got a niche they can fit into, and this is mine.
“I wasn’t really sure how it would go down, but I’ve had lots of positive feedback which is really lovely.”