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Meet Sarah Hanford

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Hanford.

Sarah, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Working with children has always been a passion of mine. I started helping at my Mum’s preschool, working with children with additional educational needs when I was 11 years old and then studied Early Years Education at University. Yet, my love for working with infants really took off when I helped a close friend care for their newborn while they were ill. Being with baby Alma changed my life and inspired my passion for finding out more about the bonding process between parents and their children. Through contact and consistent time together, my connection with Alma bloomed.

I sang to her, read her stories and spent hours on the floor playing. Bath time became part of our daily schedule and I would apply lotion afterwards, inadvertently “massaging” her, with the hope that she would sleep for her parents. That’s when I had a light bulb moment and realized that there has to be an actual ‘technique’ to massaging babies! Over the next few weeks, I spent hours pouring over the benefits of infant massage and its history.

Naturally, I found the International Association of Infant Massage and immediately booked a course to become a certified educator. Since then, I have only developed my passion for working with parents and their babies after seeing the wonderful effects infant massage and baby development can have. So now I work full time as a preschool teacher (oh yes, did I forget to mention that!) As well as teach Infant Massage and Baby Development classes at weekends.

It’s incredible that you’ve been working in this space since you were just 11 years old!  Has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’m not sure starting your own business is ever a completely smooth road, however, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Being able to learn from challenges and mistakes only makes me better at my job. For example, when I was starting Sarah’s LA, I knew nothing about SEO marketing, social media advertising and creating a digital profile. To be honest, I still feel like that sometimes but getting help from friends and colleagues, I have developed an understanding of how to reach people in ways that drive me towards success.

As I mentioned in my first blurb with VOYAGE LA, I genuinely think the most important thing I’ve learned is to trust myself more! Believing in my own abilities and putting myself out there has definitely been something new for me, but it has allowed me to share with new parents something I am truly passionate about.

Definitely hear you on trusting yourself more – we’ve learned that everyone has doubts, but that you’ve got to believe in yourself. What else should we know about your business?
My business specializes in Infant Massage and Baby Development classes. The focus is on strengthening the bond between parent and child as well as supporting infant health and development. Being able to help new parents connect and learn more about their babies is what I love most and definitely what I am most proud of.

I think that my classes are different because of the study I bring into the room as well as the background I have in more formal child education. I bring techniques and study from the US and UK, combining the best of what Infant Massage and Baby Development has to offer in both places. Also, I have a great understanding of the preschool and kindergarten system from working in it so I can also see development from a broader and more long-term perspective.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My family is extremely close and we love spending time together, so most of those memories (and I do mean MOST, not all) are equally wonderful. Yet, trying to find favorite, my mind takes me to the road trips we took exploring Europe together. It was nothing but singing, playing games in the car, arguing over the best snacks and asking “are we nearly there yet”… what could be better?

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