Published: Wednesday 18 July 2018

Meet Jemma: she trained to teach baby massage with To Baby and Beyond, and has been running infant massage classes since September 2017. She a current finalist in the Red Kite Days awards and her business is going from strength to strength! Find out more about what motivates Jemma...

Name: Jemma Hibberd

Lives: Bodicote, Oxfordshire

What do you teach? Baby Massage Classes

How long have you been an instructor? I started classes in September 2017

What made you want to become an instructor? I’ve always worked with children teaching music and movement but wanted to do something that would work well for younger babies and mothers. Having taken part in a course at a children’s centre with my little boy 6 years ago I had experienced first hand the benefits of baby massage. In our local area there was a lack of classes for new babies and pre-movers and with that a lack in Baby Massage. It seemed like the perfect class to introduce to the area!

Have you always been an instructor? I am trained in Musical Theatre and work as a professional singer along side music classes for little ones. Before becoming an instructor I taught weekly music sessions which were brilliant fun. I did this for about 6 years so I was ready for a slight change. Having this background has really influenced the style of my baby massage classes, I involve music and rhyme info my sessions and it works perfectly.

Why did you chose To Baby and Beyond for your training? The course looked in depth but with the flexibility I needed to work around my current music sessions, singing and my children. I loved that I could study in my own time.

What did you like best about the training with To Baby and Beyond? The tutors were fantastic and really helped with whole process. If I had any questions or I was worried about different aspects of the course my tutor was at the end of an email to help. I felt really confident with the course structure and training to enable me to succeed in running my own classes.

What’s your favourite part of your job? I absolutely love the feedback I have been receiving from happy mums who have noticed a difference in their babies sleeping patterns and general well being. Who knew I would appreciate messages from mums telling me how much better their babies bowel movements are!
The idea that mums love coming to my sessions to spend this time they have with their little ones is a true joy.

How do you keep your skills up to date? I have a lot of books, I like to read as much as possible about different massage techniques, routines, soothing ideas... as much information as I can gather to ensure I know all I can to help with my sessions.

Do you have any favourite websites that you use? I don’t have a particular website but I do keep an eye on the baby and beyond Facebook page! Lots of articles, questions and ideas are shared on the page and it’s fantastic to keep up to date with what’s going on!

What qualities do you think are important in a baby massage instructor? I think it’s very important to be incredibly welcoming. Some mums find it daunting starting a new session so to be open, friendly and and easy going is something that I know my mums really appreciate. Along with that, you need to be fully informative. Know what your talking about, research, keep up to date...mums want to feel in safe hands and confident that you're confident in what you're doing.

What benefits do you derive from baby massage? The benefits I get from Baby Massage are huge. I get to make a living out of what I do and I get to spend a lot of time with gorgeous babies and mums who really appreciate what I do and the effect it has on their baby and them. I come out of a session feeling quite chilled out unlike a high energy music class with 30 toddlers!

Have you learnt anything surprising about baby massage? Not just the obvious benefits but that fact that it can bring a group of people together. A lot of my mums are becoming friends, it has a great social benefit. You're able to talk about your rubbish night's sleep and not feel alone. How colic has been a nightmare or how breastfeeding is a challenge. I didn’t realise before that this would be as important as the massage itself!

What’s your top tip for baby massage? Top tip - take it slow, follow babies lead. Because I run a weekly class I’m able to really take my time. I’m not limited to a four week course, I can add a music sensory element, sensory lights that go down amazingly well. Just create an atmosphere of relaxation within an easy going session.

Have you had an amusing experiences in your work as an instructor? Lots of wee! I’ve had to stock up on the amount of towels I have in my studio that’s for sure. Today in fact, one little chap's effort almost touched the ceiling!

Who would you most like to teach on one of your courses? Hmm that’s a tricky one but I’d have to go with Blake Lively. She seems like a ‘cool’ mummy, quite reserved, easy going but most importantly, Daddy might attend and who wouldn’t want Ryan Reynolds in one of their sessions?!

If you'd like to check out what Jemma's up to, you can see on her website or the Tickles for Pickles Facebook page.

Photo credit: Sam Bennett Photography

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