Published: Tuesday 23 August 2022

It's always interesting finding out about someone's background, inspiration and career path. Here we meet Gemma, from South Tynecross, who's completed her infant massage instructor training with us, and is currently undertaking her baby yoga instructor training. Read on for more about Gemma...

Name: Gemma Cross
Where do you live? South Tyneside
What do you teach? I teach Developmental Sensory Classes. Recently I've also been completing the Infant Massage Instructor Course.
How long have you been an instructor and what made you want to be one? I've been teaching my baby classes since 2015 after finishing my maternity leave and, subsequently setting up my own business. Prior to this I was still in education but working with vulnerable adults / adults. I had studied child development at university.
Why did you choose To Baby and Beyond for your training? I heard great things about To Baby and Beyond. I loved that I could do the course online. I was impressed with the course content and the information I received from a phone call with the instructor. Also, Julie was amazing.
What did you like best about the training with To Baby and Beyond? I love how accessible / available the teachers are. There's so much advice and support given with the course.
What’s your favourite part of your job? My favourite part of my job is meeting new parents and being able to help and make a difference with their babies' development.
How do you keep your skills up to date? I am always renewing my skills when necessary and taking refresher courses where I can. I check the gaps in the market and try to train / innovate.
Do you have any favourite websites that you use? I use To Baby and Beyond to look for new courses. I have undertaken three courses so far with them and have seen more I would like to do in the near future. I also use Acas for refresher courses. I follow as many parent groups / forums as I can to keep up to date with my target audience and what people are looking for. I also make sure I am listed on directories.
What qualities do you think are important in an instructor? Qualities I think are important from an instructor are kindness, compassion and empathy as well as being approachable and friendly.
What benefits do you derive from your teaching? Knowing that I make a difference in new parents' and babies' lives is everything to me.
Have you learnt anything surprising about baby massage? I haven’t had any surprises, other than I was surprised how much I enjoyed the course. I initially enrolled to infant massage in order to be able to complete the baby yoga course, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it to the point where I am now incorporating it into my lesson plans. It’s been so useful and I feel so grateful now that I can help my customers who are looking for help with their issues their babies might be having. I loved my case studies group.
What’s your top tip for teaching baby massage? My top tip for teaching is to allow babies to lead. In my infant massage course I was made aware quite quickly that babies are very tired towards the end of the massage. I quickly changed my lesson plan and made sure tummy time (back massage) was done near the beginning of massage routine and not at the end when babies are tired. Be ready to adapt.
Have you had an amusing experiences in your work as an instructor? During covid, when classes were quieter, I had a class where all five babies were asleep! I had to start group discussions with mams until the babies woke up. It’s funny now but at the time it wasn’t. I wish I’d known infant massage techniques then as I could have shown them this.
Who would you most like to teach on one of your courses? I would love to teach Russell Brand. I love his energy and think he would be very open to infant massage courses with his babies.

Thanks Gemma! You can find Gemma and her Sensory Explorers on Facebook here.

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