Touch is one of the first sensation a baby learns when it comes to the world. The midwife, OB, birth worker who delivers the baby is the first person to touch the baby and at that time the baby is still in transition. The mother’s touch should be the first touch that a baby experiences. In our modern world, complicated healthcare systems have managed to make this quite difficult to attain. How can we give our babies this wonderful touch after all the interventions that happened before ? The answer to that is MASSAGE. You do not need to be a massage therapist to touch your baby and massage your baby.
Infant massage classes are vital for parents who want to learn it from professionals. For the parents who are committed to doing infant massage regularly, these classes are taken before the baby’s arrival. For parents who have already come home with a new baby, you won’t have the time to go to a class. But it is never too late because giving the baby the gift of touch is the second best gift to breastfeeding. Did you know that you get to talk to your baby when you give them a massage ? A baby relaxes and this will relax mama and papa or whoever the caregiver is. Your baby looks at you directly and learns that this is what a safe touch feels like. You get better at reading your baby’s cues. You don’t feel overwhelmed when your baby cries because you will know why he or she is crying.
Touch is invaluable to any mother and baby dyad. Dads should try it too. Dads, if you feel left out because you cannot breastfeed or if you feel that the baby responds to mama better. Trust me. Incorporate a daily massage, it does not have to be a big charade, just gentle massage before bed. You will see that your baby responds to you as well. There is so much research done by people in the field of massage and its effects and you can find the literature in books, journals, articles, online as well but the one thing I know for sure as a mother, aunt and postpartum doula is I am yet to meet a baby who does not like infant massage. The trick is to do it early and often just like breastfeeding.