Amy Kelly | @littlelegsbabymassage
With a background in Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing, I was well versed in the practical benefits of baby massage, and it was the nightly massages shared with my own little one that sparked my interest in crafting products and starting Tiny Tonics. So, finding a beautiful soul and amazing mama like Amy Kelly from Little Legs Baby Massage whose passion for the practice so clearly radiates through her work has been such a pleasure. Here, Amy chats baby massage, mumlife and poop-scoopin'.
You're a wonderful mama and the brains behind the biz Little Legs Baby Massage. Can you tell me a little more about yourself?
Thank you! I moved over here from sunny Manchester 8 years ago and met my husband on the Gold Coast on my third day here – it was during a surf lesson he was teaching (so cliché!), and Australia has been my home ever since! I split my working week between being an assistant in the construction industry and teaching baby massage, the rest of the time I’m a wife and mama to an 18month old boy who always keeps me on my toes!
We're big fans of baby massage over here at Tiny Tonics HQ, and it's so wonderful to see the practice getting more and more recognition!! How did you come to love baby massage and start Little Legs?
I’m pretty open and honest about my journey throughout pregnancy and into motherhood and I really didn’t enjoy being pregnant one single bit! I spoke to a psychologist throughout my pregnancy, and got over the fear of birth itself but never was I excited. When Kian was born – he was preemie and was very sick. He was taken straight to the NICU (special care nursery) where we didn’t get to hold him for 4 days, and we we’re kept in for 2 weeks till he was strong enough to go home. So, it’s safe to say we had some bonding time to make up! I started teaching myself little bits which I found on the internet, and it was definitely helping him with his wind problems, as well as something I felt I could ‘do’ for him. I was also still scared to touch him – as he was still so tiny and fragile, and this helped me overcome this. I started showing girlfriends what I’d learnt and then while my mum was here she found an advert in the paper advertising a baby massage instructor course – so it just felt like a sign! I did the course a few weeks later, passed the exam, and littlelegs was started pretty much the next day! It’s been steadily growing, but now it’s really starting to gain momentum which I’m so happy about!
I love meeting all these amazing and inspiring women (and of course their babes!) who I would otherwise not get to meet. I try and share my story with them so they know they’re never alone, as PND is not spoken about enough, and there’s still such a stigma attached. I also remind them that parenthood is hard for everyone (no matter how perfect their insta feed is), and try and take some of the pressure off them– it’s not something you will nail on day 1, as it’s forever changing! I teach them that massage is fun and it’s not something that’s you HAVE to do every day- as we as mums have enough tasks and expectations on us already. Baby massage is something that’s supposed to be enjoyable for both mum and bub – so even 20 seconds when bub is lying under the play gym is be enough!
There are so many brilliant benefits to baby massage; can you share some of your favourites?
Oh gosh, where do I start?? Officially, there are 21 benefits of baby massage – but my favourite is hands down helping with constipation, colic and wind – there is seriously nothing more satisfying than teaching a new mamma how to perform the tummy sequence and their bub fills a nappy, or does a massive fart! I then pack my bag and say my work here is done! I love that it helps with reflux because that is so stressful for everyone involved with that new bubba and it provides so much relief, it also helps with teething pains – (it’s not nurofen but it certainly works very well alongside it!), but the soft spot for me is how it helps and enhances the bonding process for mum and bub on so many levels – the touch releases endorphins in both mum and bub, your baby is hearing your voice and is looking into your eyes, she/he can smell their mama– all these things are connected with relaxing the baby, which in turn help the mama too! The massage also helps with improved sleep quality, with alertness, boosts immunity… it really does have so much to offer!
For those who've never given baby massage a try, where would you suggest they start? Could you explain a couple of simple techniques they could try out?
I always say to start with massaging the legs – why? Because of the amount of nappy changes you do each day, they are used to having their legs messed with. Massage can be stimulating for babies – and so at first they might not like it – if you start with their legs you are giving them a chance to go ‘hang on, what mums doing is actually really nice – I might let her do a little bit more!’ In the first instance I would suggest doing strokes from the hips to the feet – as going the other is a stimulating stroke which were not trying to achieve! The most important thing is to watch and listen to your baby – if they’re not enjoying it, then stop! You can always offer it to them later on when they’re a little more settled.
Mumlife: it's a tough gig sometimes! How do you find balance with work and being a mama?
Sometimes?? I find it tough every day! I’m not sure I have found the balance! I am so lucky the group of guys I work with are understanding about having kids and the sicknesses they pick up from daycare – my boss is currently on maternity leave too so she’ll be even more understanding when she returns! My current boss has also forbidden me from doing any work at home which is a nice restriction! I have been so blessed to have met some great girlfriends at mums group – we literally spent 12 months of maternity leave moving as a pack, and they keep me balanced – they just get what we’re all going through – all 4 of us have different parenting approaches, but none of us judge we just accept what the other has to do to survive! I met @lenny.sunday at the same group and she coaches me through insta, through my business (she actually made me sign up and did my logo) and always has some positive advice – sometimes I get overwhelmed by littlelegs and have to take a step back, because if my heart isn’t in it then I can’t help anyone! I make sure I’m always hydrated with coffee, and I always try to laugh. I’ve definitely had to put other things on the back burner for now though to avoid burning out – I’d like to start going back to the gym one day, or starting netball again – but there’s only so much you can do!
What's your favourite way to relax and recharge?
Laughter. You seriously can’t laugh enough – I enjoy catching up with friends over the weekend which now involves getting takeaway coffee and walking with the prams – I am so lucky to live on the sunshine coast so everywhere we go there’s a beach or a park where we can relax! And in those rare baby free moments I sneak off for a swim at the beach, and of course we drink wine!
Funniest mama memory?
Haha I’m actually giggling now… my friends know I’m pretty useless when it comes to packing a nappy bag – I’m always missing a nappy, or a pack of wipes or medicine… but it was at the beach and I was waiting for my husband to get out of the surf – Kian was making noises from the car seat and I knew what was happening. Anyway, his nappy had exploded up the sides of the car seat and I had to get him out and change him – but I had absolutely nothing – he was covered head to toe in mess, and so I had to lie him on the floor of the car park, and scoop his mess out of the car seat and put it down the drain – and then stick him under the shower – there were so many bystanders, and I’m pretty sure I asked all of them if they wanted my child! You just have to laugh or you’ll go mad!
Finally, for anyone wanting to get involved with Little Legs and Baby Massage generally, where should they head to find out some more?
You can find me on Instagram @littlelegsbabymassage, on Facebook and I have a web page www.littlelegsbabymassage.com. I love getting message and questions, so please feel free to say hi!