Mar 022013
 

exerpt{lcranial}2Babies are born with urgent and intense needs and depend completely on others to meet them. Nurturing touch helps meet a baby’s need for physical contact, affection, security, stimulation and movement. Parents who choose a nurturing approach to physical interactions with their children promote development of healthy attachments. Even as children get older their need to stay connected through touch remains strong.

 

 

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Benefits of Nurturing Touch for Infants

  • For the child, nurturing touch stimulates growth-promoting hormones, improves intellectual and motor development, and helps regulate babies’ temperature, heart rate, and sleep/wake patterns.
  • Babies who receive nurturing touch gain weight faster, nurse better, cry less, are calmer, and have better intellectual and motor development
  • Cultures high in physical affection, touch, holding or carrying, rate low in adult physical violence

How I Provide a “Nurturing Touch”

  • Skin-to-skin contact is especially effective
  • Breastfeeding and joint baths offer opportunities to snuggle skin-to-skin
  • Massage can soothe babies with colic, help a child unwind before bedtime, and provides opportunity for playful interactions
  • Carrying, or babywearing using a soft carrier, meets a baby’s need for physical contact, comfort, security, stimulation and movement, all of which encourage neurological development
  • Be conscious to avoid the overuse of devices designed to hold a baby independently, such as swings, jumpers, plastic carriers, and strollers

Nurturing Touch and the Older Child

  • Frequent hugs, snuggling, back rubs and massage all meet the older child’s need for touch, as do more physical play such as wrestling and tickling
  • Wrestling and tickling should follow the lead of the child and should not be forced
  • Use playfulness and games to encourage physical closeness
  • If you find your child is too heavy to hold comfortably, provide the closeness that carrying provides by providing attention or comfort in your lap
  • All humans (including adults) thrive on touch and the reconnection it provides