The Power of Touch is quite simply amazing. It has both physiological and psychological benefits to all of us, not just babies but it is particularly important in the lives of our babies.
We use touch throughout our lives as a way to communicate, soothe, praise, develop relationships, seek support and comfort.
Did you know that the power of touch begins before birth? At around 8 weeks of gestation a fetus can respond to the sensation of touch in utero. Twins have been known to self soothe through sucking on their twins nose or hands as well as their own. Every day is a brand new day for them, literally something new which can be scary but having that constant movement in utero is soothing for them. Having a hand to suck on helps too!
Babies need to be loved, nurtured, soothed and cared for. This helps to develop that lifelong bond and trust between caregiver and baby.
By holding baby, using gentle nurturing touch, massage and cuddles, baby learns that they have a safe place to always come back to (in you), therefore helping them feel free enough to explore the world around them. They feel free to play with other babies, interact with them, learn how to be with others and help them to build a healthy brain along with their socioemotional development. They learn how to control and how to manage their own behaviour. All from some lovely cuddles and massage!
There are so many benefits of touch. It really is so powerful. It can help with;
When massaging you release endorphins which are natural pain relievers.
Weight gain and growth
You are helping to boost their digestive system and circulatory system. Both of which are essential for growth and weight gain.
When baby is working hard, moving around all day, having a lovely massage can help them to feel nice and relaxed. Massaging also releases lots of lovely Oxytocin (The Love Hormone) which can also help to relax them (and you as you produce it too!).
There are a million and one reasons why babies cry, it can be trapped wind, reflux, colic, loneliness, cold, need a nappy change etc. Massage can help with almost all of these. Except nappy changing!
Kangaroo Care/Kangaroo Mothercare/Massage, can do wonders for this. When babies are born all of their systems are still developing. They are unable to regulate their own temperature for example but by practising some skin to skin time and when they are a little older, some massage, you can help baby to regulate their temperature, heart rate, reduce their stress and anxiety and improve your bond.
Touch also helps with both Infant and Parent mental health.
It is important to also note that for fathers or other main caregivers, by cuddling or massaging baby they still get the opportunity to bond. They are still vitally important in the development of baby and there are plenty of wonderful ways they can bond and also play! Baby massage, skin to skin contact and tummy time can be done by mum, dad or main caregiver. By practicing these techniques (even just a little) every day you are providing your baby with the absolute best start in life. You are baby’s first teacher, even when you don’t realise it. You are baby’s everything and you are enough, you are amazing and they love you more than you will ever know.
If you have any questions or want to find out some more information please visit www.littlebudsnurturehub.com or contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can book onto a really beautiful baby massage workshop at any time that suits you. There is also a really fun Tummy Time Masterclass available to book now too. Newborn nurture course will be coming soon. They will contain some gorgeous massage routines to use from birth, bonding tips, swaddling techniques and so much more. Keep your eyes peeled!