Having taken time to reflect on what I saw on Saturday, I am still filled with an amazing warm feeling about what happened.
Saturday, saw me running a New Dads class. New Dads classes are for any dads with babies up to crawling stage. They are based around Developmental Baby Massage, whilst at the same time giving dads time to share and discuss their experiences with other dads. They also have the opportunity to ask me for specific advice on any subject relating to them and their baby.
I was fortunate to have trained in Developmental Baby Massage with an amazing man called Peter Walker. He is a total inspiration, he has been teaching since the 1980’s and was certainly well ahead of his time, he system has been developed over the years and has been influenced by and influenced the likes of R D Laing, Janet Balaskas, Shelia Kitzinger to name but a few.
I try and run the classes in places where mum can still be close by for obvious reasons. This particular class was run at Mocha Mama in Kettering. We completely take over the baby area, re arranging it for our class, whilst the café still operates as normal for the most part. Six dads attended with their babies, ranging from 5 weeks of age to 7 months of age. Five mums also came along with dad, initially sitting separately in the cafe.
The class was great, showing the dads massage techniques to open their baby’s shoulders and chest and how to relax the stomach. Dads were given the confidence to use the Tiger in the Tree position to hold and sooth their baby whilst also massaging their stomach. We talked about the benefits of what they were learning and how to continue this at home. During the open discussion segement, we covered colic, and ways to help alleviate this, coming back to importance of a relaxed stomach for baby. I was also asked about congestion, so we tried techniques for opening nasal passages to aid breathing and massage techniques for clearing chest congestion.
The feedback was amazing and the dads couldn’t get enough, we all sat and enjoyed our bacon sandwiches and coffees and chatted… and the class lasted nearly two hours. During this time babies went out to mum to feed, to then be returned to dad, mums were relaxed and by now were all sitting together chatting. The atmosphere was relaxed, relaxed dads bonding with relaxed babies, relaxed mums enjoying some time to themselves & enjoying some time meeting and chatting to other mums.
Steph arrived shortly after 11am (just over an hour into the class) with our two children; she sat chatting with the mums, whilst our two children played.
So what was so special?
Steph and I reflected on the morning, and we both really felt elated by what had happened.
Of the 6 dads and 5 mums there (the other mum had opted for some time to herself and that in itself was very special for her) Steph had worked with 3 of the mums through Daisy Birthing, as a couple we had worked with three of the couples in our couples class, I had worked with two of the dads with DaddyNatal, Steph had three of the mums signed up for her Daisy Tinies class and of course I had the 6 dads doing New Dads class. That in itself felt very humbling, the trust these parents put in us with their pregnancies and babies.
BUT that wasn’t what felt so special, what felt so special this Saturday morning, was the peer support that these parents got by talking to each other, the fact the mums all exchanged numbers to meet up again with their babies, the fact the dads were all chatting and bonding with each other and realising they are not alone.
The fact we were sharing and supporting their journey’s from pregnancy, through becoming parents and as their babies develop was an amazing sense of honour for us.
The realisation that dawned was simply what we were achieving is something quite amazing, the continuity we are able to supply to the families, the fact we can work with mum, or dad, or both and offer support specifically to their needs, is simply crucial.
As if we were not driven enough, Saturday has just made us even more determined to continue to do what we do and to encourage and train others to do the same. Linked up support for the whole family has amazing benefits and seeing these families enjoy such a relaxed and enjoyable time together was so inspiring.
We need to support families as a whole not just individuals; we need to address all their needs as a family. If anyone would like to find out more about the work Steph and I do please just drop us an email.