Touch is the primary language between newborns and mothers. After a warm and loving nine-month embrace in the womb, it is the first sensory understanding that a newborn experiences when they arrive into the world. Touch is essential for healthy physical growth and emotional development as it makes them feel loved, comfortable, and protected. A loving and soothing touch creates a foundation of a strong bond that helps them in the future.
John Bowl, a British psychiatrist, psychologist, and psychoanalyst, famous for his interest in child development, impressively discusses newborns' innate characteristics and behaviorism of being loved and nurtured in his attachment theory.
According to UNICEF, skin-to-skin contact is the first essential step after birth that begins a connection of deep love and affection, as the mother feels a rush of maternal hormones and the child feels a familiar embrace.
A newborn goes through several stages when it arrives in the world and into its mother’s arms; the birth cry, awakening, relaxing, and sleeping in the familiar embrace that it felt in the womb.
The primary touch should be skin-to-skin contact that creates a bond that lasts throughout infancy and beyond. Infant massages are the easiest ways to establish and strengthen the fundamental bond of love and trust between the mother and the child.
Infant massages provide several benefits that influence your baby’s physical health and psychological development by stimulating their sense of touch. With every new day, your little one experiences fresh understandings about the world around them.
A smooth and relaxing massage, preferably at night, allows your newborn to calm down and fall asleep more quickly.
Massages also invigorate the baby’s neurological development by reducing stress levels with decreased crying. Your gentle touch and pressure stimulate the baby’s brain and help build their back and neck muscles that will allow them to hold their head by themselves sooner.
With a clear mind every day, your newborn will have more body awareness along with their surroundings. These gentle strokes of massage also alleviate digestive problems such as constipation, colic, or gas and enhance their immune system.
Building the Parent-child Bond
Having a massage routine is the best practice that helps build the parent-child bond. With every gentle touch, your baby gets closer to you and takes another step closer to understanding you better.
These smooth strokes of love do not only relax babies but give you an insight into how they react, physically and emotionally, to different things. Massaging your newborn allows them to experience affection not only through loving touch but also through eye-to-eye contact, smiling, and talking.
It encourages parent-child bonding which makes them more interactive and engaging. It is also beneficial as it helps you unwind, relax and reconnect with your child every day after a hectic routine.
Massaging requires very little preparation, basic techniques, and practice that results in an everlasting bond. The essential elements for massaging your newborn is to create a warm, calm, and cozy environment for your baby.
You can sit on your bed with your little ball of cuteness or put them on a changing table. Make sure you are at the correct level to keep eye contact.
Start massaging your baby with a very gentle touch, gradually moving towards a firm touch as they start growing. Place your newborn on their back and begin kneading every part gently from head to feet, including neck, shoulders, hands, waist, and thighs.
Flex each hand by extending and legs by pressing softly towards the stomach as it helps in releasing wind. Spend one minute on each part. If your baby seems to be enjoying it, you can continue a bit more.
Massage the soft and tiny tummy with circular strokes without pressing the chest area. Always talk and engage with your little angel during massaging. Your voice will relax them even more as you sing along to a lullaby.
Some parents use natural oils or moisturizing creams for a smoother massage as they eradicate friction between a newborn’s skin. Whatever option you choose, make sure the product is free of artificial preservatives or dyes.
AVEENO® offers a broad collection of baby products ranging from baths to moisturizers. The AVEENO® collection includes moisturizers for all different skin types.
AVEENO® Baby Daily Moisture Lotion is designed for everyday use and is ideal for dry and sensitive skin types. The colloidal oatmeal-based formula will keep your newborn's skin soft, healthy-looking, and non-greasy with its fragrance-free ingredients.
AVEENO® Baby CALMING COMFORT® Lotion is created for normal to dry skin. It has calming effects on the baby with its smooth vanilla and lavender-scented formula and is best used for a night-time routine for an enjoyable and relaxing sleep. The lotion is free of phthalates and parabens, and is pH balanced as well.
If your baby has very dry to itchy skin, try the AVEENO® Baby Soothing Relief Moisturizing Cream. For eczema-prone skin types, the AVEENO® Baby Dermexa Moisturizing Cream is perfect with its calming effect by reducing itchiness.
The regularity of massages solely depends upon you and your baby’s mood. Some parents prefer a daily massage routine, whereas others divide their days of the week.
The best time to massage is when you and your little one both are in a relaxed and lively mood. You can have a daily morning massage routine to help them start the day in a good mood.
You can also massage them in the night after a calm and serene shower that will soothingly help the baby into a deep tranquil sleep. Make sure to wait at least an hour after feeding them, as massaging right after a meal can cause discomfort.
The touch between newborns and parents creates an intellectual and emotional bond that helps them in every aspect of their later life. Make sure the next massaging session with your little one is full of love and affection!