03 March 2010

Help baby develop through loving touch

Although all babies react differently to form of touch, here are a few tips and techniques to ensure that you and your baby enjoy a bonding experience.

As your baby develops inside your womb to the moment he enters the world, he responds to touch. Touch between you and your baby happens through fingertip touching, stroking, holding, rhythmic patting, wiping and cleaning. Although all babies react differently to form of touch and here are a few tips and techniques to ensure that you and your baby enjoy a bonding experience:

Touch tip one: pleased to meet you

  • While still pregnant, try rubbing your baby’s back through your tummy and try to feel your baby kick back
  • By doing this, you are saying “hello, how are you?- I can’t wait to meet you and hold you in my arms”
  • This technique helps develop your baby’s awareness of his own body and the environment in which he is living

Touch tip two: heartbeat

  • Sit or lie down with your baby
  • Cuddle and touch your baby with his head against your heart
  • Hearing your heartbeat makes your baby feel secure so by doing this, you are saying “you are safe  now in my arms”
  • Holding your baby close helps to develop deep breathing patterns which help to improve blood flow to the brain and assists brain development

Touch tip three: legwork

  • Lay your baby down on a flat supported surface in front if you
  • Place your hands palm downwards on top of your baby’s thighs
  • Gently slide your hands down his legs to his feet in one move, keep eye contact and talk or sing at the same time
  • Try to make the moves gentle but rhythmical and repeat at least six times if your baby is happy
  • This says to your baby “be calm, everything is ok”
  • This type of movement relieves muscular tension in your baby’s legs and aids circulation, which can help warm up your baby’s feet if they are feeling cold

Touch tip four: feet tickler

  • Lay your baby down on his back
  • Hold your babies feet and rub small circles on the soles of his feet with your thumbs
  • Make as much eye contact as possible
  • This says to your baby “hello, how are you? Let’s talk together”- stimulating and encouraging dialogue between you
  • Gentle pressure on your baby’s feet can help relax and alleviate blocked sinuses and colic

Touch tips five: play time tummy

  • Hold your baby in your arms or lay him on a flat surface
  • Gently rub your baby’s tummy
  • Use playful touches and tickles that turn into games
  • This says to your baby “hi, I am your mommy and I am fun”- this also makes your baby more aware of his own body
  • Gentle tummy touches can help with digestion: easing discomfort of trapped wind and helping to relieve constipation

Touch tip six: touch and talk

  • Sit or lie with your baby
  • Gently rub each of his fingers and toes while counting or singing nursery rhymes
  • This says to your baby “listen to mommy’s voice and see how much she loves you”- also allowing him to know that he and mommy occupy the same space together, which is very reassuring
  • By running your baby’s fingers, you can help stimulate and develop circulation
  • Singing or talking to your baby can have a positive effect on brain growth as it helps him to become interested in listening to your voice

Touch tip seven: stroke and soothe

  • Hold, cuddle and look down at your baby
  • Stroke his eyebrows with a rhythmic movement
  • This says to your baby “relax and allow mommy or daddy’s gentle touch to make teething pain or blocked sinuses go away”
  • Stroking your baby’s eyebrows helps to increase blood flow and drainage, which can help unblock sinuses easing pain and discomfort

Touch tip eight: rock a baby

  • Lie your baby on your thighs with his feet facing you
  • Cradle her head with your hands and sway him gently from side to side
  • Your touch and the sight of your face will help your baby to feel reassured and calm
  • Singing to and smiling at your baby can encourage him to engage socially

Touch tip nine: stretching out

  • Lay your baby down on his back
  • Very gently bend both his knew in towards his tummy and then gently straighten out
  • This helps to relieve wind and colic

Touch tip ten: nappy change belly roll

  • While your baby is lying on his back, gently roll a small beach ball across him tummy and up and down his legs and arms
  • Encourage him to grab or touch the ball
  • This boosts your baby’s awareness of his own body and encourages excellent co-ordination practice

Try these touch tips and techniques for about three months and you will hopefully be able to choose different touches to enjoy with your baby when you wish. You may discover some more of your own which your baby enjoys.

(Sister Lilian for Pampers, March 2010)


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.