Getting to Know… Hayley Kennedy of Baby Massage with Hayley

Hayley Kennedy is a qualified mobile baby massage instructor, teaching parents and carers the fundamentals of infant massage. Hayley conducts private home visits and group lessons in and around the Inner West. With a background as a social worker assisting children and families, Hayley brings an extensive knowledge of family dynamics and bonding. She started her business, Baby Massage with Hayley, earlier this year.
0421 712 392
Tell us about yourself.
I am originally from the UK. Before uni, I worked as a nursery nurse and teaching assistant in preschools and primary schools. After graduating with a (BA) Social Work Degree in 2009, I worked for six years as a social worker with children and families, before I decided to make the move to Australia.
I moved to Sydney as a permanent resident in 2016 because I wanted some sunshine and a new adventure. This year I completed my certification as a baby massage instructor, and I’m so excited to be taking this new direction in my career.  
What inspired you to become a baby massage instructor?
During my time as a social worker, I developed a particular interest in the parent–child bonding and attachment process. I saw firsthand how difficult the adjustment to life with a new baby can be for so many parents. Becoming a baby massage instructor felt like a natural next step for me since a huge benefit of baby massage is the bonding it facilitates between a carer and the child.
I also recognised that in addition to the bonding opportunities, there are a number of health benefits of baby massage too. Research has shown that with massage babies may be more settled and sleep better. Massage can also assist with gastrointestinal discomfort, such as wind or constipation, by encouraging the elimination of waste.
It was important to me to attain my certification (via the Infant Massage Information Service, IMIS). It worries me when I see people teaching baby massage online without any professional qualification. It is important to understand the correct techniques and to be aware of the occasions when baby massage is not appropriate.
What services do you offer?
I’m a mobile instructor, so I travel to locations in and around the Inner West, teaching individuals or groups. I demonstrate the techniques on the baby massage doll. I do not massage babies directly. I give parents and carers the skills and confidence to massage their own babies.
My group classes typically include between four and six babies, so everyone gets the time and attention they need. Baby massage can be so beneficial for parents who work full time or even grandparents wishing to strengthen their bond with their grandchild.
What can clients expect from your services?
First of all, clients can trust that I will be teaching them the correct methods for massaging their baby, and that they will be receiving up-to-date, accurate information. Clients can also feel comfortable that they will be in a supportive and friendly environment. I’ve worked for many years with children and families and know how hard that adjustment can be, all the things you don’t feel prepared for. My baby massage classes are about promoting a fun and welcoming place. I’m open and easy to talk to and clients are always welcome to ask me any questions they might have afterwards.
What is the most inspiring experience you have had as a baby massage instructor?
It’s so rewarding when you can see a baby relaxed and happy during a massage. You’ll observe the baby’s eye contact with the parent, maybe even a little smile, and soon the parent starts to feel more confident in their technique. I find it especially rewarding when a parent who has perhaps had less opportunity to bond with their baby realises that this is something special and beautiful that they can do together with their baby.  
Given your background in social work, what advice can you offer new parents?
Social media can be quite daunting. There’s a public perception that you have to be the ‘perfect’ parent and some people appear to be doing this so well. New parents can feel very confused and isolated. My advice is, don’t be too hard on yourself. No one is perfect and everyone has their parenting hurdles!
Have you ever read a book that has changed your perspective or path in life?
I’m reading an amazing book right now called The Whole Brain Child by Daniel Siegel. The book is a great read for anyone who wants to understand more about nurturing your child’s mind.  
Favourite places in the Inner West?
I really enjoy Erskineville’s friendly village feel and I also like the quirkiness of Newtown. As a relative newcomer to the city, every weekend is still so exciting to me and I love getting out for walks and beach visits.
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