Published: Monday 20 February 2017

This Student Spotlight sees the first double-interview featuring the team from The Gentle Touch. The Gentle Touch are Emma Haverson and Anna Mapson (both trained with To Baby and Beyond) and they've been running for 4 years in Bristol.

What do you teach?

We teach Baby Massage, Baby Yoga in Bristol and we've recently added Baby Weaning and Family Nutrition to our portfolio. We also have two massage therapists who work for us providing holistic massage treatments to mums.

How long have you been an instructor?

Emma 4 years and Anna 3 years, and we've been friends for more than 10 years.

What made you want to become an instructor?

Both of us experienced baby massage first with our own children and loved it and then wanted to teach others.

Emma: I set up The Gentle Touch when my first son was born at 35 weeks, a bit of a shock, still being at work. After his birth I was given a book about baby massage, I loved it and decided to train as an instructor, and never looked back.

Anna: - I joined Emma after taking her course with my second daughter and she was just about to go on maternity leave with her second child, so it was good timing for both of us. I loved the way it helped with bonding

Have you always been an instructor? (If not, what did you do beforehand?)

Emma: I was Resources Manager at BDO before I retrained.

Anna: I was a Management Consultant at Deloitte.

A completely different working life for both of us these days, and we are proud we have taken the leap to run a business doing something we love. Our experience in the corporate world has definitely helped our business confidence.

What's your favourite part of your job?

Working with new parents is very rewarding, we love being a part of a women’s journey into mothering. It's fantastic when you see babies really responding to their mother during a class and that bond deepening.

How do you keep your skills up to date? Do you have any favourite websites that you use?

We are always reading articles and sending them to each other, subjects such as Attachment, Gentle parenting, Sleep or any new research we find on parenting subjects.

Otherwise we have both been busy with additional training courses; Anna has recently qualified as a Nutritional Therapist and Emma is training to be a Doula & Antenatal Teacher.

What qualities do you think are important in a baby massage & yoga instructor?

The ability to listen to people, and not jump in with advice, everyone has their own story and starting point.

A fab quote that we find helpful “When listening to someones story, just wait before asking questions as these are about what you want to know, not about what the person wants to tell you”

What benefits do you derive from teaching baby yoga & massage?

We love working with new parents, and find running the classes a nice break from our own busy family lives, it's a moment of peace within the week that we both really look forward to.

Have you learnt anything surprising about baby massage or yoga?

Not really that surprising, but, how self critical mothers can be about themselves. We need to give ourselves a break, this motherhood thing is hard work.

What's your top tip for baby massage or yoga?

Getting parents to join in with the songs no matter what they think their singing voice is like, it always makes the class more enjoyable, and the babies love hearing the songs.

Thanks for Emma and Anna of The Gentle Touch, for their interesting answers. You can find The Gentle Touch online on their website, Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram.

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