“A key component of the Infant Massage Program is guiding parents to ask permission of their baby.”
Howard Steele, Associate Professor of Psychology, and Co-Director, Center for Attachment Research, New School for Social Research, Editor, Attachment & Human Development
Asking Permission: a Vital Step
Receiving permission from your baby is important before beginning massage. Some caregivers have difficulty imagining how a baby could possibly tell them s/he is ready and willing to be massaged. Of course, answering this question requires an appreciation for the interpersonal capacities of newborn human infants, the meaning of their gaze, their facial expressions, their posture, and other non-verbal or pre-verbal expressions of comfort or distress.
Baby massage instruction helps you recognize your baby’s repertoire of emotional and behavioral expressions, including the wish for an exclusive relationship with a preferred and loved caregiver. Learning when and how to seek permission before massaging a baby is an critical skill not only for infant massage, but also achieving mastery of the care giving skills needed to provide what a baby needs most: love and a secure infant-caregiver attachment.