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Week 5 : Hamba Bamba Funda's Early Childhood Development Pilot Project

With the car packed to the brim with stock for the shop we set off on a cold Saturday morning for a session with a difference...the two groups were combined and there was going to be no babies.


“there is a reason why I have asked to arrive without your children this week” explains Monja “it is so we can spend more time on the technique of tapping & squeezing and transitioning. we are going to practice on each other so you know what it feels like, especially as the 2nd group doesn’t have much opportunity to practice with their older children”

“so how does it feel to be here without your babies?” asks Monja

“FREE”

was a typical response


“to start off with we are going to do a body scan” explains Monja “so you can bring attention to yourself” encouraging everyone to lay on their backs “now close your eyes and observe the contact you are making with the floor and notice if anything is highlighted, any stiffness or pain”

“now bring your attention to your feet and notice if there is any difference in sensations as you move up your ankles to your calves, noticing how they touch the floor then up to the knee, thighs into your pelvis, what sort of contact is the pelvis making with the floor. next notice the spine and the way it forms from the pelvis, the lower back, how is that touching and now travel up to the upper back and shoulders. now notice your arms, the neck and the back of your head”

“next bring your attention to your breathing especially in the belly, if it is tense then it needs to be soft. If a baby has digestive issues it is quite often tension in the stomach then tapping and squeezing will help to ease it. again if the lips and jaw are tight this is caused by tension and will inhibit their eating” informs Monja.

“now observe how are you feeling, checking in with your body parts, when we are in touch with our bodies, we are in touch with ourselves. the floor is a good way of giving us feedback as to how we are feeling” she concludes. “babies need to be aware of their body parts from a young age to help with Gross and Fine Motor Skills”

As the scan is coming to an end she points out “I can already see a change in your breathing, which is good”. Now Monja encourages everyone to slowly open their eyes and eventually come to sit, “how are you feeling” she enquires.

“very relaxed, my back was heavy”

“tension in my shoulders”

“amazing, it relaxed my whole body, I could feel my left leg was stiff”

“I could hear and feel my heart beating”

were typical responses

“areas where you are experiencing tension and stiffness, if tapped and squeezed you will then notice a difference, so let’s try it on each other” announces Monja.

With everyone now paired up with one lying on her back, Monja then started the tapping demonstration on a mother. “with a soft hand, using all the fingers allow the arm to fall”. Starting at the shoulder the mothers tapped their way through the body. Down the whole arm top and side then the ribs, belly, pelvis to the legs top and side except for the knee cap to the feet including the top, toes and sole then all the way back to the shoulder adding the chest, this needed to be a softer touch.

“how did that feel” enquired Monja

“I could feel a warmth coming through”

“a tingling feeling”

were typical responses.


Still paired up and lying on their backs Monja demonstrated how to squeeze. “with both hands you now squeeze the muscle towards the bone, holding it for a bit pushing it towards the floor” she explains.

Starting at the shoulder she cupped it with her hands from both sides, then moving down the arm to the fist and squeezing, releasing the fingers which were then individually squeezed. Returning up the arm the hands were placed on the chest, either side of the breast and pressed. Moving down one hand was place on the ribs, the other on the pelvis and the pressure was applied towards each other and towards the floor. The process was repeated with the hands now on the pelvis and thigh, the hands were now moved either side of the thigh and squeezed all the way down the leg, inside and out, with the exception of the knee cap again. When the foot was reached one hand was placed on top the other on the sole and squeezed. Each individual toe was then separated, pulled, bent and squeezed.

“how did that feel” enquired Monja

“could feel being pressed into the ground”

“comfortable”

were typical responses.


Next the paired women rolled onto their stomachs to be tapped and squeezed “when I lay on my front to sleep I have a pain in my breasts” exclaimed one mother. Monja then demonstrated if you pull the knee up to level with the pelvis on the same side as the head is turned then it will relieve the pressure.

The same techniques were demonstrated in how to tap and squeeze the back as the front adding the ribs were squeezed towards the spine also the elbows towards the floor.

“how did that feel” enquired Monja

“my blood is flowing”

“feels like being in a spa, my tension is going away”

were typical responses.


Monja now explains “these techniques are important as the child needs to feel the pelvis to crawl and sit, pressing the ribs towards the spine softens them and enables the baby to roll easier and pressing the elbows into the floor strengthens them so they can lift their head”

“when tapping if your child is being hyperactive then tap slower to calm them down” Monja points out.

With the mothers all sitting together they have an open conversation “an important milestone for a baby aged 0 – 3 months is lifting its head. it is at this age the heaviest part of the body and plenty of “tummy time” is needed. the head always needs to be supported when picking them up” Monja mentions “if they sit up to early and then fall over they will get a fright and will be less likely to try again” she concludes.

“it is important to tap and squeeze your babies often as it softens the body making it easier to transition, if they are stiff they can’t move their head, then it becomes difficult”

“babies push into the floor to get a reaction from their muscles which strengthens them and this is important” Monja ends.

The mothers now enjoyed their warming refreshments before leaving for home.

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