What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a gentle form of natural healing that involves treatment by massage to the reflex areas that are found in the feet. Reflexologists believe that by treating the feet we are helping to relieve many common ailments that occur in babies and children, such as:
What are the Benefits?
A mother’s touch holds a very special place in our memories, and touch through reflexology is a wonderful way to communicate and build a healthy and caring relationship with your child. Incorporating reflexology into your daily routine will help to give you a relaxed and contented child.
Studies have shown that touch through reflexology has helped babies to gain weight, (especially beneficial for premature babies), and sleep better, it also shows that touch is a comfort, it reassures, heals and balances the body.
I have worked as a Reflexologist for the last 12 years, working on feet to help with pre-conception, pregnant mums, babies/toddlers and right through to old age, with the most amazing results, here are a few related case studies.
Case Study 1
8 week old baby with re-occurring sticky eye, mum worked massage movements all around the toes paying special attention to the second toe which is related to the eye. She did this for a few minutes on her baby each day and was pleased to see within the second week the problem had cleared up.
Case Study 2
6 week old baby feeling quite unsettled, mother quite stressed as well. We worked out a little routine, reflexology moves, quite time for her and baby, soft lighting and music. This worked well for them both resulting in a chilled out mum and baby.
Case Study 3
8 week old baby suffering with colic. I showed mum a lovely routine to do for her baby’s colic and she was amazed how her baby would release gas as she worked over the related area for her tummy, and more often than not she got a full nappy!
Case Study 4
18 month old boy affected by eczema, mum said that when it was at its worse the reflexology most defiantly help to calm her child and his skin.
Case Study 5
Girl aged 11 was having trouble with constipation. I worked mainly on her digestive system, nervous system and solar plexus, and showed mum what she could do to help her, but before we could finish the treatment she had to get off the bed to use the toilet.
Going through life with reflexology is an invaluable tool to have as a parent as this will give you the techniques to help your child along the pathway of life.
by Alwyn Bessant
Alwyn practices as a reflexologist specialising in fertility, pregnancy and postnatal treatments and runs reflexology workshops for babies and children in Clavering, Essex, close to Bishops Stortford and Cambridge. Her website is www.solereflexions.net or you can email her on email@example.com
To find a reflexologist near you visit the Association of Reflexologists website HERE.
The journey and discovery of Baby Led Weaning (BLW) started for me with my daughter Ava at around 8 months.
Previous to this I had started weaning like everyone else at approx 20 weeks old (maybe even earlier!) on the advice of the local health visitors. Everyone was doing the baby rice and puree thing so this is what I was going along with too.
Just one problem, the only way my daughter would actually eat anything of a spoon was either if you swiped it in her little mouth without her noticing or used another distraction such as having toys for her to play with while she was fed! Looking back now I can’t believe it didn’t click sooner that this just was not working for us. I would make a million different purees for her to try thinking that it was because she didn’t like the taste but she would still refuse. The one thing you could guarantee she would eat however was mini pots of fruit puree and yogurts so because she pretty much wasn’t having anything else these probably made up most of her diet.
Something had to change… however when speaking to my local health visitors the advice was that if she isn’t eating much then she should be given high fat foods.. some suggestions were cake, fried chips etc. Seriously? Was this the advice I was being given by a health care professional? No mention of foods high in healthy fats, avocados, oily fish etc. Nope, give an 8 month old a high sugar diet and not worry about the health implications that this may lead to in the future…. lovely.
With all this great advice at hand, I headed to the trusted internet. I must of typed in something along the lines of ‘8 month old refused to be spoon fed’ and all these suggestions came up of ‘Baby Led Weaning’ with people discussing how this had transformed their little ones eating. I had never heard of it before so ordered the book there and then. Once it arrived I couldn’t wait to read it and it all made perfect sense. My little girl wanted some control over what was going in to her mouth and also wanted to be able to touch, feel and experience different types of textures and tastes.
From the moment I put some chopped up veg and fruit on her high chair tray she was away. I just let her get on with it; she loved having control over what she ate. I should just mention I had previously tried ‘finger foods’ with her before but because I was always feeding her, I never really gave her the choice and control that she wanted or needed. So from that day on, Ava fed herself. She would have the same as we ate so I didn’t have to make special baby dinners. She learnt to use a spoon and fork very quickly. To this day she has one of the most varied diets I have seen for a 3 and ½ year old. Don’t get me wrong she still doesn’t eat huge amounts, but she is a petite girl and I trust that she knows her appetite better than me! But she will eat olives, raw veg of every variety, loves fruit especially all types of melon. The funny thing is she still will not eat something if it looks ‘pureed’ like a thick vegetable soup, I wonder whether she has been put of being fed that in those early days.
I now cringe when I see photos of Ava’s first foods, with her looking so tiny, propped up in a bouncy chair with baby rice or carrot puree all around her mouth where she had just spat it out. She was clearly not ready to be weaned now that I look back but as with a lot of things you just do what you think is best with the knowledge you have at the time.
When I had my second child in 2012 there was never a moment of doubt that I would be following baby led weaning again. This time around I had seen much less of Health Visitors but still when I had a routine visit for Alfie at around 3-4 months. There were the comments such as ‘he’s a boy he will need to be weaned earlier’ and ‘yes it says in the guidelines 6 months for weaning but it’s usually earlier’. She talked to me about the puree process even though I had clearly stated that we would be waiting until 6 months when he can feed himself. With her not listening to a word I was saying I gave up and instead went into a state of nod and smile (hopefully she will leave quicker!).
Alfie started picking food from my plate (and other people’s plates) at around 5 and a half months. He had no teeth so I was questioned a lot by people as to how he was going to cope with ‘normal’ food! But as I knew he would, he didn’t let having no teeth get in his way. At 6 months Alfie was eating a full range of food, variety of vegetables, fruits, meat, grains, you name it he tried it and loved it! He is now just turned 1 and I can’t name a food that he will not eat. Obviously there are things that he prefers but he will try everything.
He can use a fork and a spoon now to feed himself, and he uses his fingers for dippers! I’m not sure whether there has been any research to look into whether Baby Led Weaning develops motor skills faster but he is a master with the pincher grip! This makes life tricky, with a 4 year old and her tiny little toys that she leaves lying around the floor.
P.S my children have never been subject to a choking incidence.
by Lucy Surry – mother and past BabyCalm teacher