A newborn baby needs very little; it will be some years before they start demanding bikes and computer games. Apart from feeding and cleaning one of the most important things you can do for your baby is to hold them.
A newborn has a lot of adjusting to do; they have previously spent their entire existence tucked up warm and cozy with all of life’s desires on tap. Now they are out in the big wide world and your touch will reassure them that it’s not that it’s not as scary as it might seem.
Early human contact is essential for both physical and psychological development. Studies have actually examined the neurochemical effects of touch on a baby and the results are astounding but not surprising to us at Tots Play. Psychoanalysts John Bowlby and Renee Spitz looked at the impact of orphaned babies and children in World War II and were the first to recognise that having basic physical needs met are not enough. Our offspring need touch to survive and thrive just as much as they need food. Modern science has studied the chemicals that the baby brain releases when touched and also notably the different ones released if they are not!
The most recent studies have been on premature babies. For years human contact has been minimalized on the most vulnerable of little ones to avoid the chances of infection. Now though the medical profession allows as much touch as physically possible. In one study by the University of Miami Medical School, infants that received just 15 minutes of massage three times a day put on weight 47% quicker than the babies who were left in their incubators. These babies didn’t eat more but their bodies simply developed faster. Doctors could see clear improvement in the development of their nervous system and their response to external influences such as a familiar voice or a rattle.
If this amazing effect can be measured in high dependency babies then what impact can touch have on yours? It is known that in general babies who are regularly touched grow and develop better and spend less time in hospital.
So apart from a nice cuddle what else can you do to promote touch between you and your baby?
As demonstrated in the above study baby massage helps to develop the nervous system and growth. You can read more about the benefits of baby massage HERE.
This is great for those older babies on the move. Don’t let a wriggly baby put you off this beneficial and enjoyable experience. This ARTICLE explains more.
Adding movement to your tactile interactions can make them even more fun and engaging, great for babies of all ages. Read more about the benefits of yoga for your baby HERE.
Bonding With Your Baby
A huge benefit of all these techniques is that they reinforce the bonding process between you and your baby. There is of course the scientific aspect to this which we have touched upon but sometimes it’s simpler than that. Having some time dedicated to spending together simply for purpose of enjoying the moment can be very grounding. Having a little life to be responsible is hard work especially if you are not getting enough sleep. Engaging in specific activities with your baby, where you are focused just on each other, can bring unlimited joy to both of you.
You can learn all of these techniques at Tots Play, along with enjoying many other games and activities, all of which are designed to promote your child’s physical, cognitive and physiological development in age appropriate ways. Our varied programme is designed to give you the skills and confidence to interact with your baby in a way that is beneficial to you both, as well as being lots of fun!
Our Baby Development Course is especially for younger babies (from birth to 6 months) and includes a full body massage routine, as well as special ways to hold your baby to calm and soothe them. Learn more about this course and all that it offers HERE. There are also lots of opportunities for touch and close interaction, including baby yoga and story massage at our Discovery Tots classes, for babies from 8 weeks to active crawling, and Social Tots, for mobile babies and toddlers.
Click HERE to find one of our baby or toddler classes near you.
We also have resources and FREE activity guides available online so if we haven’t got a class in your area yet there isn’t anything to stop you getting those happy hormones flowing today.
Now, go give your little ones a hug!
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