Transcript: Help With Postpartum Depression – The Many Ways Baby Massage Can Help
This is a text transcript from The First Time Mum’s Chat podcast. The episode is called Help With Postpartum Depression – The Many Ways Baby Massage Can Help and you can click on the link to view the full episode page, listen to the episode and view the show notes.
The transition into motherhood is a challenging time for many moms and there’s never a more important time to ensure you look after and nurture yourself. A reoccurring theme on first time Mum’s chat has been a lack of information available to mums to help them with their own health and wellbeing during their postpartum period. Yes, it’s important to always ensure that your little one is well looked after, but please don’t forget to take care of you also. After all, you are not going to be at your best and able to show a 100% otherwise.
During this podcast, I’ve had a number of guests who have shared their postpartum journeys and how they have struggled, as well as professionals who specialize in helping moms through their postpartum struggles.
Common themes that I have noticed in these chats have been how alone and unsupported mums feel, how they were often shunned and told to stop complaining and just get on with it, and that when they wanted support, they didn’t know who to reach out to.
Several of these episodes were an interview with Suzanne Yatim Aslam, who has written a book based on her experiences of postpartum anxiety and depression, in the form of journal entries, where she detailed her personal experiences and the dark thoughts she experienced. Another one is an interview with Kaila McGuire, host of the Parent Tell podcast, who talked about her experiences.
I’ve listed these episodes as well as a number of others, which I’m certain you’ll find of assistance to you in the show notes for this episode so you can check them out and I’ll share where you can find them at the conclusion of this episode. So please listen to the end for the details.
This week, I want to approach postpartum anxiety and depression from a different angle by discussing how baby massage can help you through this trying time. Before I get started, I feel it’s extremely important to highlight something about baby massage that many of the moms I speak with are unaware of.
Baby massage isn’t just about helping your baby, it’s also about helping you! How is this possible? Well it helps you to create a deeper bond and connection with your little one and I can’t think of a better starting point or even antidote for any postpartum anxiety or depression woes than improving your relationship and bond with them.
According to the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM), health benefits for the baby may include improved self-regulation and sleep, as well as stimulation of the digestive, hormonal, immune and circulatory systems. It makes sense that life is likely to be a lot easier for both mom and baby when you are less sleep deprived, and this is likely to help you in your journey through any postpartum anxiety or depression you may be experiencing. Also being able to often assist your little one through challenges, including colic, teething and constipation, is of course going to make life easier for both of you, which should reduce any anxiety or depression tendencies.
Babies love to be sung to, and in my classes I use lots of songs that you can adapt to suit your little one. Talking to your little one is a big part of baby massage, which I highly encourage. Even at an early age, babies can communicate by vocalizing their pleasure or discontent and the baby massage permission sequence, which I teach, also helps you to learn how to read your baby’s cues and body language, see how they respond to your touch and get a better feel for where they’re at.
This is certain to help in all of your interactions with them. The charismatic stroking of your baby’s body not only encourages through relaxation connection, but it’s also believed that Oxytocin, the love hormone, what I like to call the ‘cuddle hormone’ is released, which can have a positive effect on their mood, which may help decrease postpartum depression.
When I was putting together this episode, I was particularly interested to read the findings of 2 studies that were done in the United Kingdom and Norway, which seemed to demonstrate the huge benefits of baby massage to mom’s struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety and I’ll now talk about these findings. I’ve included links to their entire articles in the episode show notes, and I’ll let you know where you can find these at the conclusion of this episode.
Firstly, an article in the Journal of Effective Disorders reported the findings of a study in the United Kingdom, that compared how certain mothers suffering from postpartum depression at 4 weeks fared, who were assigned to a support group versus a second group that attended baby massage classes. The results showed that more of the mothers who attended the massage classes showed a clinical reduction in their scores than those who attended only the support group.
The second study was a Norwegian study by Astrid Midtsund and others. I’m probably doing Astrid a disservice by mispronouncing her surname. My pronunciation of Norwegian names leaves a lot to be desired, so please bear with me. In this study, participants were invited to a group intervention for mothers struggling with their transition to motherhood. The first part of the group taught mothers a course of baby massage based on IAIM, international Association of Infant Massage principles. While the second part provided education and facilitated support and connection between mothers. Mothers reported feeling attached to their babies and reported how massage gave them a means of communication with their babies, when they initially didn’t know how. Mothers expressed positive experiences with baby massage, and saw it as an opportunity for physical and emotional connection with their babies.
I hope you’ve found what I’ve shared in this episode interesting and that I’ve given you a feel for how baby massage can help you through your postpartum journey. I’ve linked to a number of previous First Time Mum’s Chat episodes relating to postpartum depression and anxiety, as well as the two studies mentioned in this episode show notes, which can be found at MyBabyMassage.net/podcast/114.
I highly recommend checking them out since they’ve been some wonderful tips and ideas shared on the podcast by a range of guests since its beginning, many of whom have been through that journey and its challenges, and come out the other side.
If this episode has whet your appetite and you want to find out more about the wonderful world of baby massage then I’ve created a free introduction video to baby massage that demonstrates its many wonderful benefits and how it can help both you and your little one. You can access this video by going to MyBabyMassage.net/intro, that’s MyBabyMassage.net/intro.
Next week I’m chatting with mom of 3, Jennifer House, who specializes in family pediatric nutrition. We will be discussing how to incorporate baby-led weaning, how to avoid constipation when you first start weaning and how to tell the difference between choking and gagging and believe me, there is a difference.
Be sure to listen to this episode when it comes out next week, and please subscribe to First Time Mum’s Chat via your favorite platform so that you get quick and easy access to all our episodes when they are live.