Touch and physical contact like skin to skin is incredibly important and valuable from early on. Touch is the most developed sense at birth and developing prenatally as early as 16 weeks.
So we can say that it is babies' first language, because through it they learn about and interact with the surrounding environment, bond with their parents and communicates their needs and wants. When you touch or having skin to skin contact with your little one, she feels safe and protected, and this feeling will build trust between child and parent, which then creates a strong attachment that provides a stable foundation for future relationships.
Touch has impact not only on short-term development but has long-term effects, that is incredibly important to babies' physical, cognitive as well as social-emotional development. It has been shown those infants who experience more physical contact, demonstrates increased mental development in the first 6 months of life.
When you touch, cuddle, stroke or have skin to skin with your little one oxytocin known as bonding hormone is released, which plays a important role in milk production as well.
You can hear and read the phrase "Don't pick up your babies all the time, because you are going to spoil her". In my opinion there is no such a thing is too much physical contact with your baby, actually that’s what she needs for their healthy development.
Baby massage has a wide range of valuable benefits and its tradition goes back for centuries. Baby massage is so wonderful and special, because via the loving touch you get to know each other, your parenting instinct is getting stronger and you become confident about what you do is good, because you understand what your baby’s communicating with you. Let me mention a few more benefits below:
- Promotes relaxation and therefore improves your baby’s sleeping - Boost the immune system by lowering the cortisol level (stress hormone) - Early introduction of nurturing touch can help so much for those mums and babies who went through a difficult pregnancy and/or birth by alleviating the stress and trauma. - Creates a long lasting bond and strong attachment between parent and baby, and gives a great opportunity to spend some relaxing special time together. - Massaging your baby’s tummy will encourage his digestion, gives relief from colic, constipation and trapped wind. - Incredibly beneficial for mums who suffers from Postnatal Depression as it offer a gentle way of getting in touch with their babies. - Ensures a balanced body with the necessary flexibility in joints, enables a healthy muscle tone and improves coordination. - Loving, nurturing touch will stimulate and support your baby’s mental, physical and social-emotional development
And of course I could carry on for ever, but I think you can see there is lot more to it than just simply rubbing your baby, there are a lot of magical things happening baby massage.