Gentle Communication With Your Baby: The Importance of Touch

As your baby grows inside you and your tummy expands, you may find yourself touching, patting or rubbing your baby and talking to them through your tummy. You may massage your tummy regularly or go for frequent prenatal massages. Research on maternal behavior of various mammals has shown that stimulation such as licking their abdomen during pregnancy exerts a beneficial influence on both mother and baby.

After your baby is born their skin gives them information about their new world – about temperature, comfort, discomfort, and pressure. Each one adds another dimension to the infant’s accumulating experience. We know that keeping babies in skin to skin contact for those first hours has many physical benefits that last beyond those first few days of life. It also enables your baby to calm and organize themselves so they can feed.

You bring your baby home and wonder how you will ever know what they want or need. What do all those movements and noises mean?

Well for the past months your baby has got used to your touch and voice while you were pregnant. Touch plays a really important role throughout our lives, especially in the early years. Ashley Montagu, a respected anthropologist, wrote “Human beings cannot survive without touch; it is a basic behavioral need.”  And in many cultures the transition from prenatal massaging of pregnant tummies to massaging the new baby is seamless.

Massaging your baby communicates love and warmth, and continues the nurturing touch you started when you were rubbing your tummy while you were pregnant. Massage also helps you have a deeper understanding of your baby’s cues and encourages you to pay close attention to your baby, enabling both of you to communicate gently without words. Gently stroking a child will induce sleep, soothe pain, and quiet upset. Physical contact informs the other of our presence, our caring, and our support.

Would you like to learn more about infant massage? Joanne Edwards, Founder of Small Beginnings Group, is introducing a new prenatal infant massage workshop 28th February at 6pm and continues to run regular courses on infant massage at Zenana Spa. For more information or to register please contact joanne@smallbeginningsgroup.com or call 503.919.8901.

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