A baby massage business which began in Hilary Robson’s sitting room in Yetholm four years ago has won a prestigious award.
From these humble beginnings, mum of four Hilary has guided Best Beginning to great success, and now 40% of all babies born at the Borders General Hospital benefit from her courses.
And parents who were delighted with her classes nominated her for the Best Pre/Post Natal Activity in the Whats on 4 Little Ones Awards 2016.
Hilary was shortlisted, and travelled down to London for the ceremony ... where she learned that she had won.
She said: “5.500 people had beem nominated overall in all the different categories and so this was the 50 overall finalists.
“I couldnt beleive it ... but i won!”
She told us: “It’s a very rewarding job – everyone who knows me knows I love babies, so it was a natural career decision.”
“I had four kids and we used to get baby massage provided post-natally, but that was stopped a few years ago due to cuts.
“It certainly left a gap for new parents.”
According to Hilary, learning how to massage your baby can be beneficial to both child and parent, helping them to bond.
She said: “When I was working as a doula (someone who supports parents before, during and after childbirth) I found there were so many babies with colic and reflux.
“When I looked into a cure for that, baby massage kept coming up.
“I looked into it some more and found out that the NHS was stopping classes, so I decided to train how to do it and I would be able to help the mums I was dealing with, and it has just grown wings.”
The 46-year-old said her courses are run over five weeks, with classes held in Kelso, Duns, Galashiels, Lauder and Hawick.
She said: “They are very relaxed and chilled out.
“But I think meeting other mums has been just as important as the actual massage, as it can be very lonely, especially in a rural area such as the Borders.
“I have a What’s App group, with which many of the mums who met on a course arrange to meet for walks and such.
“Each week we work on a different part of the body, starting on the feet and legs.
“I show them reflexology tips, such as how to clear a blocked nose.
“It takes quite a while to learn it all, but there are a lot of good tips thrown in, such as how best to get them to sleep.”
The courses cost £40 – which includes a bottle of organic grapeseed oil, laminated notes, a certificate, and coffee and home baking each week.
But Hilary, who wants the massage training to be as accessible as possible, said: “I am currently looking for sponsorship for funded places and some local health visitors have applied to a local charity to see if they may be able to make this possible, as my dream is that no-one pays to come along.”
If you want to know more, visit www.bestbeginning.co.uk or pop along to Shedden Park in Kelso next Wednesday (July 27), where Hilary has organised a picnic for families who would like to come along and meet other parents who have gone through the course.