Parenting Pathway #101: Touch Your Baby

To your baby, “touch is as important as sleeping and eating,” says Tiffany M. Field, Ph.D., Touch Research Institute of the University of Miami Medical School. A caregiver’s intentional touch has physical benefits, such as improved circulation and increased digestion, in addition to emotional bonding. Massaged infants show deeper sleeping patterns, reduced anxious behaviors, and significantly reduced stress responses, such as heart rate and stress hormone levels. Unfortunately, the placid, “good” baby may actually be deprived of the stimulation from touch that she needs simply because she does not demand it.

Find ways to make intentional touch part of your routine with baby. After each bath, don’t just pat her dry, take time to gently stroke and rub her back, arms and legs with your hands. While naming each body part, kiss her head, her hands and her feet. While changing his diaper, help him to experience “same” and “different,” a basic early-learning concept, as you gently rub his legs with cloths of different textures. As you are relaxing and watching your favorite television program, help him relax by laying him on the floor and making a “heart-shaped” rhythmic stroke on his chest while chanting or singing softly. This intimate interaction is essential for the development of baby’s body and spirit.

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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

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