Advantages of touch
Throughout gestation the fetus is responding to touch, he can even feel when his mother is cradling and stroking her own stomach.
A newborn craves comfort, having come from a warm and enveloping fluid before birth he is faced with feeling cold for the first time. The conditions of the womb were secure as he lay swaddled in close quarters the nine months. Upon entering the world the calming effect of a mothers touch helps a baby adapt to its new surroundings. The body warmth of a mother whilst nursing helps balance the baby’s body temperature as energy flows from the mother to the baby and of course in reverse.
Bath times are a great way to expose your baby to different sensations. When washing the baby massage gently all over his body, before getting him dressed incorporate massage into this fun time. Massage has been known to contribute to more flexible muscles and increase joint range motion and increased blood flow, better sleep patterns and not to forget the added feeling of emotional security.
Baby Massage has been known to promote a healthy weight gain, develop motor skills, relax muscles and reduce pain. Their skin, which has over five million sensory cells, thrives on sensation. Children who are held, cradled and touched are generally better sleepers and are more alert when awake due to an increase in general relaxation. Gently stroking a baby’s stomach in a clockwise direction has been found to promote healthy digestion and can help alleviate gas pains and constipation. Massage can also relieve some of baby’s colic pain and discomfort
Touch is very important at every phase of life, especially in infancy as the child first encounters the world. Though touch we can develop and strengthen the attachment between a parent and a baby. This attachment gives rise to increased feelings of security, trust, and comfort. The child learns that his parent is there to love and protect him. He will feel safer and more relaxed, and he will learn to cry only when he has a need to be met. Parents also benefit from the relaxing motions of snuggling their baby especially cradling which helps reinforce the parent child relationship for years to come. Children who are touched, caressed and held lovingly by their parents tend to develop into healthier and happier adults.
By: Fiona Ben-Dror - Sleep Consultant for Idan Hahoroot