Doesn’t it feel so incredibly wonderful to touch your baby? To have her snuggled up close to you, her new delicate skin, her soft wispy hair and the feel of her breath on your face….
Guess what? Your baby loves it too. In fact, he relies on his sense of touch to take in the world around him and to explore all the new possibilities in his universe! A baby’s sense of touch begins to develop very early on in utero. By just twenty weeks gestation, baby is sensitive to temperature and pressure in the womb. Have you ever pressed on your pregnant belly and had your baby kick you back? Pretty cool, huh? The two of you are already communicating through touch before you have even met face to face. At birth, touch is fully developed, more than sight, hearing, taste or smell. Even as a baby grows past adulthood and begins to age, sight and hearing may fade but the sense of touch remains strong.
Countless studies around the world have shown that infants and children who are deprived of regular loving touch do not thrive. Children in hospitals and orphanages require nurturing touch as much as medical intervention to grow both physically and emotionally. Tiffany Field is a leading researcher in the area of Touch and knows that “A child’s first emotional bonds are built from physical contact laying the foundation for further emotional and intellectual development”
Luckily for most babies, their caregivers are eager to give them the nurturing touch they require with ease and without even really thinking about it. How many times have you felt like you could spend the entire day just kissing your baby’s little face and snuggling her warm body close to you for hours? Babies have a pretty amazing way of getting everything they need just by being the super cute little bundles of softness that they are!
Infant Massage is a beautiful way of incorporating loving touch into your baby’s routine. It’s an easy activity you and your baby can participate in together that will enhance the incredible bond which began well before you even laid eyes on each other. Massage can contribute to growth and development, while also regulating sleep patterns, relieving common discomforts and so much more. The pressure that is applied during massage will increase blood and lymph circulation, which results in increased absorption of nutrients so this improves weight gain, muscle development and brain function. And guess what else? It feels awesome!
When I tell people that I teach Infant Massage Classes, I often get this response: “Why would a baby need a massage? Are they stressed?!” And although massaging babies is a relatively new practice in North America compared to other parts of the world, many families in other cultures massage their babies throughout the day as part of regular baby care. Likely because, unaware of scientific studies, they just know that it makes babies happy, helps them grow and because it just feels so wonderful… for both parties involved.
These days, it’s easy to look over the counter for gas relief or purchase expensive swings and vibrating bouncy chairs to keep our babies comfortable. What could be easier and more empowering than soothing your crying baby with a gentle touch of your hand and a heart brimming with love?
What if the magic was right in your own hands?
About the author:
She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Ryerson University in 1997. She is currently a Registered Nurse at Sick Kids Hopsital in Toronto on the Multi Organ Transplant Unit. She is a Certified Infant Massage Teacher, and Certified Pediatric Massage Therapist.
Petrina also has a special interest in energetic healing modalities and is a Level I and II Reiki Practitioner as well as an Access BARS ™ Facilitator.
She learned to teach baby massage in 2008 and in October of 2011, she trained in Pediatric Massage Therapy; both with Tina Allen, LMT and founder of the LiddleKidz Foundation.
She is the Owner and Founder of Gentle Connections Baby Massage in Toronto. She loves teaching infant massage classes because it focuses on wellness and enjoys coaching families to feel empowered and confident in caring for their children.