Local baby massage classes are proving a popular choice with parents, on Barra and other islands.

The free classes, which are held over four to five weeks and led by trained baby massage instructors, continue to attract good attendance by parents and carers across the islands.

With baby massage a longstanding parenting tradition in many cultures, it's no wonder it has gained in popularity in the UK since the 1990s offering parents and carers time to communicate with their babies through speech and touch.

Alison MacDonald, NHS Western Isles Senior Health Promotion Officer, said: "Before babies are able to speak, or even actively respond to sounds and sights, they communicate with the world around them through touch. 

“Parents and carers who take part in our baby massage classes tell us how much they enjoy attending the classes as it really is a lovely way to enjoy time with their baby and helps with bonding."

The benefits of baby massage are far reaching and includes babies feeling loved and secure; having increased levels of relaxation and sleeping longer; improved body awareness and coordination, as well as massage providing relief from wind, colic, constipation and teething discomfort. 
Certified by the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM), instructors raise awareness with parents and carers of how baby massage can help them to feel closer to their baby, gain a deeper understanding of their baby's behaviour, crying and body language. 

It can also help to provide an enjoyable opportunity of spending one-to-one time with their baby and learn a life-long parenting skill. 

If your baby is aged eight weeks to nine months and you are interested in registering for one of the free baby massage class in your area, please contact your local health visiting team if living in Lewis or Harris on 01851 709842, or the Health Promotion team if living in the Uists or Barra on 01870 602588.

Pictured is the baby massage class which took place in Barra during September/October with IAIM Instructors Alison MacDonald, NHSWI Senior Health Promotion Officer, and Theresa Irving, Barra Children’s Centre