Australia has opened its first baby spa, which offers appointments for babies as young as two-days-old.
Baby Spa Perth offers hydrotherapy sessions, infant massage and professional support.
“There is often a misconception with the name ‘baby spa’ which leads people to presume the service offered is a beauty treatment. This couldn’t be further from the truth,” says the spa’s director Kavita Kumar.
A baby tries out one of the neopods. Image supplied.
"Hydrotherapy stimulates all the senses, the comforting experience strengthens muscles and bone structure of babies whilst providing an environment where they can build confidence in the water and learn to control their reflexes.
"The water immersion improves sleep quality, reduces discomfort from colic, wind and constipation whilst regular visits benefit the cardiovascular and respiratory systems," she said.
During hydrotherapy sessions, the babies are fitted with a lightweight flotation device (a Bubby) that is put loosely around the baby’s neck.
The sessions are performed by "medically qualified staff" and mothers are encouraged to learn the spa's baby massage techniques.
"Infant massage can help with post-natal depression. It’s also a bonding experience to watch your baby in the water and see how relaxed they are and how they react and explore in the water. Some just go to sleep, others kick off the walls and splash," said Kumar.
Laura Sevenus designed the spa's flotation device. Image supplied.
"Care is given by our medically qualified team to provide the correct amount of stimulation depending on each baby’s age as well as professional support and training for parents."
Baby Spa Directors Anita Yap, 31, and Kavita Kumar, 33, were trained under Laura Sevenus - who founded the spa in London.
"After having my first child in London and learning of the baby spa through my local mother’s group - my husband and I jumped at the opportunity at gaining back some of the hours sleep we lost," said Kavita Kumar.
"My son who was four days old, slept well after his first session but what we found was so much more than that. Still experiencing the benefits of baby spa a year on, the concept never really left our minds. Having come from Perth, we wanted to share the same opportunities we had experienced in London with the families in our home town, " she said.
The staff show mothers how to massage their babies. Image supplied.
The spa caters to newborns from two-days-old to eight months and is staffed by two midwives, a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist - all with neonatal and paediatric experience.
There are two treatment rooms for hydrotherapy sessions - including "neopod" rooms designed specifically for newborns up to eight weeks. The water is purified and renewed after use.
One of the spa's first customers enjoys a session. Video via Facebook. Post continues after video.
"The larger spas are for older babies and like the neopods, they have been designed for the baby to move around at their own volition," said Kumar.
The directors say the spa sessions can have health benefits to babies including - improved sleep, increased muscular and skeletal strength, improved digestion and circulatory systems and increased lung capacity.
The owners say they have had an "overwhelming response" to the spa - which is the first of its kind in Australia.
"One of the most important features of the space we have created is the nurture room, a place where new mums can go and relax free from judgment, " said Kumar.
"Whether they have had a fairly straight forward birth or have had a more traumatic experience, it is a place where you can come and feel welcomed and get the support you may need."