My third interview is dedicated to Ruth Donnelly from Jinny Joes Baby Massage and Baby Yoga.

I met Ruth when she did a presentation at the Larkhill HSE Breastfeeding Group and I decided to join her baby massage class at the Whitehall Parish Centre in Dublin 9 (Ruth also has classes in Drumcondra, Drogheda and Dundalk).

My little one was just 6 weeks old when we started and even if I don’t attend the class anymore I still massage her regularly at home since. It’s a pleasure for both of us and she especially loves the nursery rhymes!

What I love about Ruth classes is her gentle style, her attention to details (oil, cushions, keepsakes, bubbles…) and the coffee and cake chat after the class with the other mums! Ruth makes the cakes herself by the way.

Pictures are from one of the class where Ruth made some feet prints of all the babies.

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How long have you been teaching baby yoga and baby massage?

I have been teaching my baby classes for 8 years. I began teaching my Baby Massage classes in 2007 and Baby Yoga classes in 2008.

What does a typical baby massage class look like?

Baby Massage Classes are suitable from newborn to pre-crawling.

Infant Massage is the very special art of using nurturing touch to communicate with your baby, to show them that they are loved, welcomed and respected, and that they can feel safe and secure in their new world. It is a wonderful way of bonding with your baby as it works on an emotional as well as a physical level, developing closeness between parent and baby that has lifelong benefits.

In my baby massage classes parents interact with their baby, we sit together in a circle on a huge comfortable throw on the floor surrounded by cushions, each baby has their own soft mat & space and Mum/Dad sit with their baby. Each class lasts approximately 1 hour and finishes up with a hot cup of tea/coffee, a friendly chat and some yummy treats for about another half hour.

Baby Massage Classes are entirely “baby led” and parents should feel free to tend to their baby’s needs in whatever way they need to by feeding, changing, walking around while class is going on. I feel it is a good idea to bring 1 or 2 towels with them also (in case they decide to massage with the nappy off) along with anything they may need for feeding or changing their baby, but all other requirements will be supplied.

Parents/Caregivers massage their own baby using a specifically designed series of strokes. Every week we recap on the previously classes strokes, if baby sleeps or feeds throughout the class, the parents will not miss out as we recap each week.

The massage manual has pictures of the strokes which can be easily practiced at home, by the end of my 5 week course each baby will be having a full body massage.

At the start of every 5 week course ”my Mums” receive a welcome pack: baby massage manual, class handouts, fluffy socks and organic massage oil.

Dads are always welcome at all my baby classes.

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And baby yoga?

Baby Yoga Classes are suitable from 12 weeks – 8/12 months.

Baby Yoga classes are about fun-playful yoga & gentle exercise with your baby.

Complimenting our baby massage classes, they are a social interaction for both parents & babies, helping the body regain pre pregnancy shape gently.

Birthlight ‘baby yoga’ is an inclusive set of practices to enhance playful interaction and communication between parent and baby and to promote their healthy development. Baby Yoga perfectly compliments baby massage and expands the benefits of touch with those of movement and relaxation, offering a comprehensive all in one practice for parents and babies including massage, holds, stretching, singing and rhymes, game playing and relaxation.

Birthlight Babies learn lots of shortcuts to ease their transition to developmental milestones (rolling, sitting, crawling, standing, walking), but mostly because this is done through loving interaction and fun, it helps their brain to grow lots of happy neuron networks at the time of most intense growth in human life.

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What are the benefits of baby massage for the babies?

Aside from the pleasure of baby massage, there are numerous health benefits:

  • The tummy massage relieves wind, colic and constipation
  • The chest massage helps clear the lungs and improve respiration
  • The leg and arm massage improves muscle tone and circulation
  • The facial strokes are very soothing and relaxing and help with the pain of teething
  • When you massage your baby regularly, you promote deeper sounder sleep

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And for the mothers?

  • Increased bonding with your baby through pleasurable touch
  • Greater confidence in handling your baby, learning to understand your baby’s body language
  • Strengthens your ability to help your child relax in times of stress
  • The social aspect of meeting other mothers in your area
  • Class is very relaxing and nurturing and significantly help mums who have postnatal depression.

My Baby Massage Classes comprise of one hour of beautiful baby massage followed by our precious ”Mommy (and Daddy) Time”: friendly chat, time to exchange experiences and ideas-with other parents, a hot cuppa and yummy homemade treats.

If you have health insurance cover, you may be able to reclaim some or all of the fees, but this does depend on which plan you have so it would be worth checking with your company. As a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI) I provide you a receipt which will enable you to reclaim, if applicable. Baby Massage Course investment is reclaimable with most policies from VHI, Laya, Aviva, & Glo-Health.

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Do you practice yourself with your boys at home?
I massaged my babies from the minute I first held them, as they have grown. I have adjusted the massage strokes to suit their movements and personalities.

Massage is a great way to strengthen the bond between me and my boys, as they are busy little people exploring, now aged 3 & 4 years, we have a back massage and foot most days, bringing in stories and games and age appropriate songs & rhymes.

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Ruth Donnelly

CIMI, Birthlight Baby Yoga Teacher, SMART Toddler yoga, Rainbow Kids Yoga, Prenatal Yoga Teacher.

Jinny Joes Baby Massage and Baby Yoga


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