Importance of Touch while caring for your infant

why touch is important- Parenting resources by ZenParent

Infants (just like adults) perceive their world through all their senses. But unlike adults their senses are very, very perceptive, sensitive and delicate. In their little world, they do nothing else but collect sense impressions – to make a sense of their world. And even though they need nourishment of all their senses through sweet sounds, beautiful visual stimuli, nourishing tastes, and soothing aromas – Tender Touch remains the most important stimuli that nourishes them the most. For even though they can feel all different sensations, they respond most enthusiastically to soft stroking, cuddling, massaging, caressing, and being held / carried in loving arms.

1. Touch – The mother of all sensations

It is a well-known fact that, ‘touch’ is the mother of all sensations. It is the most important instrument of bonding and communication between an infant and the caretakers. It is as essential as food, because the intimacy created through touch brings out aliveness in the baby. In fact, a baby can survive without food but not without loving touch.

2. First connection with the world

Infants’ first connection to the world is through their mother’s hands, which pick them up, lay them down, wash, dress and feed them. Quiet, patient, careful, secure and resolute hands create a friendly picture of the world, while impatient, rough, hasty, and nervous hands create just the opposite picture.

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3. The quality and quantity of touch

The physical contact during the first moments, hours and months of a child’s life makes a great difference to the rest of their life. The quality and quantity of touch creates either lack and desperation or a sense of security and belonging.

4. Touch and health

Babies need their mother’s comforting touch to soothe them so that they can produce healthy hormones and adopt ways to deal with stress. Touch stimulates the nerve receptors present on the skin’s surface, which in turn signal the release of chemicals that have relaxing and health-promoting benefits. A loving massage improves immunity.

5. Touch and confidence

Mothers, who allow their babies to snuggle up to them for longer hours, help them grow into confident and self-assured adults, for babies first learn about safety and security by the sense of touch.

Most parents wonder if carrying an infant for longer than necessary would spoil them and make them dependent. But studies have shown that infants who are carried by their mother or some other loving caretaker for more time are more independent and confident when they grow up.

Responding to a child’s basic needs immediately right from the time the baby is born, instills a feeling of trust in them.

importance of touch for your baby- Parenting resources by ZenParent

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6. Being touch-starved

Even though we all know about the importance of touch, there isn’t enough of it in our lives. Hence, most of us remain touch-starved. In fact, most of our (and our children’s) health issues arise from being ‘touch-starved’. An infant not only provides us with an opportunity to offer more touch but also to receive more touch in the process. It is a win-win situation.

ZenParent says:

If infants are fed when they are hungry, carried when they want to be cuddled, their diaper changed when it’s soiled, talked to when they are receptive, and made regular eye contact with, they will grow up with a profound sense of security, faith in the world – and ultimately, in themselves.

So, touch, hug and hold your infant (and other loved ones) in a loving embrace. It is the most nourishing food that you can offer to anyone. And it costs nothing.

Click here to know how parents can bond better with one another for happier children.

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