Touch is the most developed human sense at birth, and arguably, the most important. Touch plays a major role in communication and the relationship between parent and child. Infants learn a tremendous amount about their world through their sense of touch. Healthy touch offers tenderness, comfort, reassurance and pleasure. Research has shown that infants who are rocked, carried, and massaged become less aggressive adults and are more cooperative and compassionate.
Paying attention to the quality of all the touching that takes place between parent and baby during the course of the day is important. Learning the art of infant massage is another way to enhance relationships and learning. Infant massage helps babies develop secure and trusting relationships with their caregivers as they learn that their special adult is tuning in to their needs and cues. The special time set aside for massage is a unique opportunity for parents and their babies to share relaxed, focused interaction and attention.
Parents have been practicing infant massage throughout history, and for good reason. Decades of research has shown myriad benefits from massage. Infant massage has been shown to improve overall health, improve circulation, stimulate the immune system, and help with digestion and growth. It’s also a wonderful way that parents can help babies learn to soothe and self-regulate.
Parents benefit from learning to be sensitive to their baby’s unique cues and needs. As they get to know the baby and share close, pleasant interactions, parental anxiety if often eased, and parents feel more confident in caring for the baby at other times as well. It is a fun and relaxing time. It keeps parents and babies “in touch,” literally.
In addition to the physical health benefits, and the opportunities to foster a nurturing relationship, infant massage is fun for parent and baby.
Oakton, VA 22124