Would You Take Your Baby to a Baby Spa?

You can get your baby a massage in Philly.

Whenever something particularly jarring in the lifestyle realm is unveiled, it’s a sure bet that our email inboxes will fill up with various mentions of the story from friends and colleagues. (See: “Apparently Philly is a Hotspot for Vagina Beauty Treatments.”) This week’s news? Baby spas. In particular, massage and water therapy for babies. According to Daily Mail, about a year ago, Kristi Ison opened a baby-centric spa in her home in Houston, Texas, that allowed babies to float around in inflatable donuts and then indulge in a massage.

But the thing is, the spa is successful.

Since its inception, Float Baby has amassed over 300 clients, moved from the original home location, and is slated to open 10 franchises over the next year. People actually want to go to a baby spa. A spa! For babies! But it’s not just for de-stressing infants: Float Baby’s website ensures that its services can aid in everything from strengthening respiratory systems to cognitive development. Was it the new Baby Einstein of fad child rearing or a self-indulgent practice reserved for over-involved parents? More importantly, would Philly be getting its own baby spa in the near future? And after speaking with several masseuses and spa owners in the area that offer similar services (yep, those exist, too), it all kind of makes … sense. Sort of.

“It’s a class I teach; we offer pediatric massage” says Susan Shaw, a licensed massage therapist for 22 years. “We don’t touch the babies, though. We train parents how to it.”

Shaw works for Blissful Beginnings and Beyond in Southampton, a holistic and wellness spa specializing in pregnancy, birth, and post-birth and more importantly, she is a major proponent of massage for babies and moms. She says the ideal time to attend the class—to which you bring your infant and can range from 1.5 to 3 hours—is at four weeks, and definitely before your baby starts crawling.

Eviama Life Spa in Market East  doesn’t offer spa services for infants, but they do offer youth services. Owner Penny Ordway says, “Of course on any underage service, an adult has to be present in the room, but sometimes they’ll opt to get the service, too.” The spa offers several youth-centric services ranging from a Little Face facial for the 6 to 12 year old set that combines gentle cleansing and aromatherapy compresses, to a Youth Care facial that focuses more on consultation and educating children about caring for their skin. “We don’t want them to think that something is wrong with them just because their skin isn’t perfect,” says Ordway.

I was getting a little sucked in. The idea of cherub-cheeked babies bobbing around in a warm pool and prodding a squishy infant sounded kind of dreamy. (And they look so happy in their blow-up donuts!) Plus, I love the idea of educating little ones about their skin before pesky puberty acne pops up. But, again, I don’t have kids. Maybe all that prodding would just freak a baby out. So, I decided to run the idea of baby spas by some of my colleagues that were mothers.

The consensus: “I’ll take my baby to the spa when I get to go to the spa myself,” said one editor who scoffed at the concept. Another added sarcastically: “Really, babies have such stressful lives. Naps all day, wrapped in soft organic blankets, the purest of food and undivided attention from adults. I can see why they need the spa.” In short, they weren’t exactly fans of indulging their little ones with luxe spa services—super-soft blankets and endless mashed sweet potatoes should do the trick.

So, are baby spas really necessary? Probably not. Sure, if you have a particularly colic-y baby, give some infant massage techniques a go.  They seem pleasant in theory, but unless that baby spa treatment is paired with an accompanying treatment for mom, then it seems unlikely Philly moms will be jumping on this bandwagon.