Interview with Ms. Pascale Bonnet
Having qualified for more than 30 years in the education of young children, Pascale Bonnet launched a new challenge in 2019: founding her association “Paumes et Petons” in the field of baby massage.
Trained and qualified by the AFMB, she provides individual and group lessons for parents seeking to create a bond of attachment, through touch, with their children. We took advantage of an interview to ask him a few questions.
WHO AM I ?
I have been an educator of young children for over 30 years. I currently work for a Toulouse association “Crèche and Do” which offers home care to individuals. After recruiting early childhood staff, we welcome the workers and children to the association every morning to offer them activities. We also provide educational follow-ups at parents' homes.
The specificity of the association is the reception of so-called “vulnerable” children, either with disabilities or chronic illnesses, or born prematurely.
Before this position, I was the director of a crèche and LAEP (Child Parent Welcoming Place) for a long time.
I have been practicing baby massage for three years now. It’s something that has always interested me, particularly touch and the bond of attachment. I myself massaged my two children: the eldest instinctively and the youngest in group lessons. Supporting parents in communicating with their baby through touch is something that pleases me enormously.
THE HISTORY OF BABY MASSAGE: ORIGIN AND OPERATION
There are many countries where massage has been part of baby care for thousands of years. However, massage in general has disappeared from our Western continents with Judeo-Christian morality.
The massage that I teach is composed of Indian and Swedish massage movements and some reflexology pressures.
In the program I teach, I do not massage the baby. I show parents the movements on a baby doll, so they develop this bond of attachment from the start by practicing on their child.
We describe 4 benefits of massage for the baby: interaction (with his parent), relief (stomach aches, teething, growth spurt), stimulation (of the body certainly, but also neuronal, lymphatic and hormonal for example) and finally relaxation (improved sleep).
For the parent, it is very relaxing to massage their baby but it is also a way to listen to them, understand them and best meet their needs.
COURSE AND TRAINING: HOW TO START?
You have to start by training! Personally, I contacted AFMB (French Baby Massage Association) , one of the 78 branches of the AIMB (International Baby Massage Association) [these branches, from 78 different countries, are associations which offer the same program as the International Association, editor's note]. I followed 5 days of theoretical training before organizing workshops and producing writing for certification. I also followed additional relaxation training to offer exercises at the start of each session.
Nine months passed between the start of the training and the certification, during which I learned a lot. Skills such as listening skills, empathy, kindness and adaptability have been very useful to me in better understanding the role I must occupy and what I must transmit to parents and children. I think these skills are essential for someone who wants to take this path.
I review regularly with a trainer and I continue to work on the content of my workshops, particularly for the discussion around parenting.
HOW DOES A BABY MASSAGE FOLLOW-UP TAKE PLACE?
The program that I transmit takes place in five sessions of one hour individually and one and a half hours in groups. Prices are €150 for a cycle of five individual sessions and €130 for a group cycle.
In addition to the massage movements, time is taken for discussions around crying, sleeping, the role of the dad and any other questions that may concern young parents.
I am lucky to have never had to deal with reluctant parents. Some are less comfortable at first or are apprehensive about the first session, but they all quickly understand the process and listen to their child.
FUTURE PROSPECTS AND DEVELOPMENT
My wish is to develop my workshops and my partners so that every parent, even in social difficulty, can benefit from these moments. I would also like to train in prenatal massage. Thus, monitoring could be put in place even before the birth of the child. This can be very rich I think, both for the child and for the parent(s).
Working with social workers and mothers in difficulty is also something I tend towards. Finally, I would like to develop my communication in order to expand my network and share the knowledge that I have been able to acquire with as many parents as possible.
Madame Pascale BONNET, founder and speaker of the association “Paumes et Petons” and Regional Coordinator Midi Pyrénées AFMB