Nurturing touch is an innate gift we are born with. This is the most natural ability we use to comfort, to connect to others, to calm, to heal, to bond and to communicate love. When we are sad, a pat on the shoulder wins a thousand of words. A hug can mean encouragement or consolation when words fall short.
We may instinctively hold, touch or hug to communicate without a thought. Touch is more than skin-to-skin contact between baby and parent, it involves emotional engagement with baby. Baby feels love and a great sense of security with nurturing touch. Numerous studies have shown that touch is an essential element of human wellbeing. Infants will fail to thrive without this nurturing touch. During the 1950s, majority of infants and children did not develop and/or died in hospital and orphanages, despite being given nutritious food, proper medial care and a hygienic environment.
Another psychologist, Harry Harlow conducted studies of the effects of isolation on infant monkeys. He separated infant monkeys from their parents, keeping them in clean cage with food. He then put two “surrogate” mothers in the cages. One was a wire mother with a milk bottle and one was a wooden mother covered in terrycloth without a milk bottle. The infant monkeys ignored the desire for food (wire mother), but clinging desperately onto the terrycloth mothers. This shows the desire for touch is stronger than any other desire. It provides a good insight of mother-baby bonding is more dependent on nurturing touch than on the fact that mother is the source of food to the baby.
The moment they move out of the dark and comfort womb into a cold and bright world with doctor pulling and intruding rubber hands, majority of the babies are unsettled and unsecured. The babies begin to settle down when they are connected to the mother and feel the warm and comforting touch. Touch becomes the baby’s most powerful sense. It is like food for babies. They need it. What will you do when you see babies cry? We intuitively hold them or give them a kiss. It is a natural reaction and doing this we are promoting natural repair process.
Infant massage provides a wonderful opportunity to nurture your baby. You get to know your baby better, while feeling good yourself. There’s no rule about when and how you can massage your baby. The main idea is for your newborn baby to experience a gentle and nurturing touch rather than focusing too many massage techniques. Massage is basically a lovely moment for your baby to spend time close to you. The loving closeness and nurturing touch are what they need to thrive. Infant massage is amazing for so many reasons.
Benefits of Infant Massage for baby:
- Promotes bonding and attachment
- Ease the discomfort of gas, colic, congestion and teething
- Strengthen the body systems (respiratory, circulatory, nervous, immune, digestive and musculatory)
- Aid relaxation and better sleep
Benefits of Infant Massage for parents:
- Boost self-esteem and confidence in parenting
- Help parents relax and listen to their babies
- Enhance communication for better understanding of baby’s cue
We say that touch is a baby most powerful sense. In their early years, when their vision is not well developed, touch becomes a powerful tool for learning about life and their surrounding. However, there are parents out there still do not understand the importance of Infant Massage. The common reaction among parents about Infant Massage, “What? Babies need massage?” My answer is definitely “Yes, they do.” If you have ever had the pleasure of experiencing a massage yourself, you will definitely understand how wonderful that feels. Apart from strengthening the body system, massage soothes, relaxes and comforts our mind.
Why not take full use of the innate gift we are born with and consider joining our Infant Massage Classes to learn the right massage techniques. Please don’t underestimate how your tender loving care can affect your baby’s life. With love and nourishment, the little seed becomes a growing child. And with that growing child, comes a garden full of happiness.