Touch: Our First Language
Scientists are now beginning to understand that in many ways, touch is our first language. Gentle and loving touch can help small babies grow stronger and feel less anxiety. Infants who are touched display more eye contact, smiles and vocalizations. In many hospitals and birth centres, newborns are placed on the mother's chest or abdomen to give them as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. The touch between you and your baby brings you emotionally close – a process known as bonding or attachment.
Benefits of Baby Massage
Massage is a wonderful way to help strengthen your bond. This is the key to a child’s development, as many researchers and clinicians feel that a positive maternal child bond helps to form the basis for future relationships.
In addition to helping you and your baby bond, regular massage may:
- Soothe baby and reduce crying
- Aid digestion and help relieve gas and constipation
- Help baby sleep more deeply and longer
- Help calm and relax both parent and baby
- Boost parents’ confidence in handling baby
NOTE: Don't massage your baby if they're sick or have just been immunised — the area of the injection may still be sore.
Use an oil specifically developed for babies, like JOHNSON’S® baby oil. Be careful of nut based oils in case of allergies.
Through massage, you can gain increased awareness of how your baby communicates. You'll learn to read their likes, dislikes, desires and emotions. You'll learn the best time for cuddling, playing and relaxing. And your relationship will grow as you and your baby will discover what is best for you both.