Dads-only massage classes are now being offered in Wiltshire to provide fathers with the chance to bond with their children and meet like-minded dads.
The classes are provided by ChildCentric which was formed by Luke Jeffery, a father, and former Nursery Nurse and Early Years Lecturer. When Luke found out he was going to become a dad, being a former Nursery Nurse, he felt well prepared for the practical aspects but realised that there was very little in the area for dads to do together with their children.
“When I looked around for local groups and classes, there wasn’t much. Either groups were with mums and during the week, or dads were treated as an after-thought and given one class at the end of a course,” he explained.
The dads-only Infant Massage classes are only available to dads and their babies under one year old. During the classes, Luke uses a demonstration doll to teach massage strokes, while passing expert advice on why children cry and how to soothe them, what causes colic and how to help ease the symptoms, the history of baby massage in the UK, and listening and responding to baby’s cues.
All of ChildCentric’s dads-only courses are held on Saturdays or Sundays to fit, as much as possible, around dad’s working patterns, and take place at Luke’s teaching studio in Staverton, which is close to Bradford on Avon, Melksham and Trowbridge. Luke is also willing to work one to one with dads and their babies at other times which will fit into their working week.
As Luke explains, “Giving dads the opportunity to bond with, and get to understand, their children is so important and dads don’t always get the chance: it can be daunting walking into a group of mums when you are the only dad.”
“It’s also great to hear the feedback from the dads who have taken part. One dad recently told me that his baby starts cooing as soon as he starts rubbing his hands together at the beginning of the massage, while another explained that his daughter seems much more relaxed at bedtime. For me, it’s great to learn that the sessions are producing such positive results.”