The Bell Center has recently implemented a new research-based program of neonatal and infant touch and massage, My Family & Me, lead by four therapists who completed their Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification, a designation held by only 1700 therapists worldwide. My Family & Me is specifically designed for children who have spent time in the NICU, experienced a challenging birth, or who have a diagnosis that puts them at risk for developmental delay. This program is a 7-week parent-child class and is offered continuously throughout the year.
When an infant has had an extended stay in the NICU, their first experiences of touch are often associated with pain (testing, blood draws, medical equipment, etc.), so this important class focuses on positive touch and handling techniques while teaching caregivers an awareness of sensory strategies to facilitate infant regulation (how a baby reacts to his/her environment). The Bell Center also practices activities to promote the infant’s development, coaches parents on reading their baby’s cues, and shares information on positioning, all to promote infant learning. Infant Massage has been shown to improve infant regulation, feeding, and overall development in infants whose birth required time in the NICU.
Below are a few of the parent testimonials on how the My Family & Me class benefited their child.
“This was a great class! It was most helpful learning massage strokes to promote muscle strengthening and development.”
“This was a wonderful class. We learned so much during the 7-week period. We have seen tremendous development during that time.”
“This was a great class for us! We were able to implement suggestions and techniques learned fairly early into our daily routines.”
“One of the most helpful things I learned was how to help calm and regulate (our baby) when she gets worked up.”