Through my experience and training with the International Association of Infant Massage IAIM mothers and babies are very welcome from any age. IAIM massage is suitable from birth as it is cue based with parents responding to their own baby’s needs, i.e. we do not massage a baby that needs settling/feeding or a sleeping baby or a baby that is displaying disengagement cues.
Starting massage in the newborn weeks mean that parents can start their journey of positive nurturing touch from an early age and gently introduce the strokes as their baby tolerates, working towards the full body routine. The benefits of starting early are particularly useful for gas and wind as it may help prevent symptoms arising and can provide a tool for relief.
Conversely, I do always encourage new mothers to try not to do too much in (at least) the first 6 weeks after birth, (class/activity wise). This is a very special time to learn about and be responsive to newborns, which means lots of skin to skin, cuddles and less distractions. However, as massage is very much in keeping with this nurturing and cue-based approach to parenting I leave the decision of when to start, to the parents. I feel that if parents are ready to leave the house in the first few weeks that infant massage is one of the best places to start.
As a result all of my courses are baby led, with each session being 75 minutes long and a maximum of 12 babies to allow for feeding, calming, relaxing, changing and chatting as well as hopefully some massage.