Recently, someone reached out to me on Instagram wondering if I'd be interested in doing a "Daddy & Me Workshop" with birthandbaby.ie. She was unable to attend and well she wasn't a Dad.
Throughout my wife's pregnancy, I jumped at every opportunity to get involved and it's been the same way since Erin's arrival. So, with that, I was like, "sign me up". I love spending time with my little girl and it gives me another chance to bond with Erin and I'll learn a few things about baby massage that will hopefully help me to soothe her and also meet so other Dads.
Daddy & Me Workshop
I got myself all set up in the baby's room. Laptop for Zoom, cushions to sit on, blanket and changing mat for Erin and some baby oil. The class started at 10 am and was approx 90 minutes long.
The class began with some introductions from all the Dads and their little ones. Just saying who we were, where we're from, what we hope to get out of today's class and the biggest struggle so far with being a Dad. (Sleep was the most common answer for all those wondering).
It was great to see other Dads invested in making the extra effort to learn a few techniques to help improve the bond with their child. Also, with varying ages of babies in the workshop, it was great to hear them speak about their experiences with being a Dad. It kinda gave me a glimpse of what to expect down the road.
Jen then got the workshop underway and mentioned from the beginning that the workshop is baby-led. If Erin was leading the entire class, she'd have lead us all back to bed as she was out for the count.
She only woke up for the last 5 minutes when Ruth returned home and then she wanted a feed.
Nonetheless, it was a learning experience and luckily Jen sent on notes from the class.
I was slightly perplexed at first that you are not meant to massage a sleeping baby. That they should be awake and be involved. The idea behind baby massage at the end of the day is to strengthen a bond and also soothe.
If your baby, like mine, is already snoring the house down with her limbs flung over your arms. Safe to say she doesn't need any further soothing. She good!
During the workshop you'll learn massage and holding techniques like 'Tiger in the Tree' and 'Indian Milking' which involves making a C shape with your hand while massaging baby's legs and arms.
There are a variety of different techniques for the back, shoulders, hands, feet, chest and face that Jen demonstrates. They're so easy to follow even for someone, like me, who is shite at giving massages.
You'll also learn how to help if your baby has tummy discomfort by using your hands to create something like a hot water bottle. As well as some other calming and soothing tips.
The class finished with a 'Breakout' room which let the Dads talk in private for 5 minutes about the class and generally Dad related stuff. I thought it was brilliant and could have chatted and listened to the lads for ages. I'd have loved stayed on chatting for longer to be honest.
How did Erin find the baby massage?
Well, when Erin eventually arose from her slumber around lunchtime. I gave a few of the things I learned in the workshop a go. You're not going to be able to do all of the baby massage techniques but I tried a couple that I thought she'd like.
I was delighted with myself that she loved it and was very vocal while enjoying the baby massage. It's definitely something I'll be doing on a weekly basis either when we're doing tummy time or even just when I'm changing her nappy or babygrow.
I'd definitely recommend doing it lads, it's only 90 mins, you'll enjoy it and it's going to benefit you as a Dad.