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Nurturing Touch

Online since 4.10.2017 • Filed under Feature • From Issue Fifteen - October to December 2017 page(s) 34
Nurturing Touch

Providing regular, nurturing touch to your baby is most certainly one of the biggest gifts you can give to your child. And it doesn’t even cost anything. All you need are your hands and some time.

Imagine how different the world would be if adults treat each other with respect and act with integrity, kindness and compassion; if children grow up with a high emotional intelligence, are more relaxed and handle every-day stress effectively. Imagine a world where people are resilient and better able to cope, where there is less abuse and crime, and where people are happier, live meaningful, fuller lives and are able to have fulfilling relationships.

If babies are taught from birth that they are loved, valued and respected, this may become a reality.

Infant massage is about giving babies a physical massage and about bonding, communication and the interaction that takes place during the process of providing your baby and older child with regular nurturing touch.

Frederick Leboyer said that babies would die if they were deprived of touch. It is also true that babies who receive regular loving touch thrive. Research shows that our childhood experience with our parents has a huge impact on our later physical and mental health. When a baby is born his brain is still forming, especially the frontal lobes – responsible for emotional and social intelligence.

Every experience a baby has forms new neuronal connections in the brain. A negative experience will form a negative connection and a positive experience forms a positive connection. If a baby experiences lots of positive interactions with other human beings and especially his parents, or primary caregivers, this baby’s brain will develop positively. Infant massage is an excellent tool to provide lots of positive experiences.

Before massaging a baby, parents ask permission by rubbing oil into their hands, making eye contact and asking verbally. This teaches their babies that they are respected. It gives them an opportunity to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to being touched. Parents who respect their babies’ cues show their babies that they are valued and that they have a choice in deciding who will touch their bodies.

It is so important that only parents or primary caregivers massage their baby. Massaging your baby enhances bonding, and helps to form a secure attachment that lasts a lifetime. Older children can be massaged too; and it’s never too late to start. It helps them relax, shows improved sleeping patterns, and can help with physical discomfort such as colic, constipation, blocked noses and growing pains. Regular touch and massage also helps to develop all the body’s systems – the digestive, immune, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and nervous systems. Learn how to massage your baby by finding an instructor (countrywide), visit www.iaimsa.co.za

Issue Fifteen - October to December 2017

Issue Fifteen - October to December 2017

This article was featured on page 34 of Babys and Beyond Issue Fifteen - October to December 2017 .

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