Touch is one of the human basic needs and a basic need for children's development.
The skin is the most important sensory organ and our largest organ. The skin's sensory organ is called the touch sense. The touch sense is well developed already after a few weeks inside the mother's stomach.
We say that our skin is our outer brain, as it works with the same principle as the brain and nervous system. It accepts impressions such as heat, cold, touch, pain, pressure and vibration, which are going like a message to the brain where a decision gets made on how to respond — an extensive sensory system.
Our touch sense has an essential role in how we humans feel mentally, physically and emotionally. It is also vital for contact with other people.
For newborns, body contact is essential. Your baby feels the touch and reacts in the form of reflexes. The skin accepts all signals passed to the brain, and the skin coordinates all impressions from all the other senses. When stimulating the skin, one develops the ability to sense and connect impressions, together with other senses.
A baby in need of touch is often uneasy, crying and having trouble sleeping. Children who are not stimulated by touch at all, who are prone to neglect, can have long-term injuries. It inhibits the development of language and motor skills, as well as other development phases.
Touching stimulates the child, it releases the wellness hormone oxytocin, and the child gets a feeling of being loved, that it is important and meaningful for further development.
Benefits of stimulating the touching sense, and giving baby massage:
- Helps the child relax and release tension.
- It strengthened the connection between the parent and the child.
- Increase the child's feeling of safety and confidence.
- Increased curiosity.
- Makes the child less aggressive, and feeling loved.
- Increased communication possibilities.
- Stimulates the skin, touch sense and motor skills.
- Pain relief, and especially relieves air pain in the stomach.
- Increased quality of life.
- Strengthens and stabilizes the child's circulation and digestion.
- Helps to make a good sleep pattern.
- Wellness for children and parents.
Baby massage is an excellent opportunity to stimulate the baby's sense of touch, and you can already start when the baby is one month old.
The perfect moment for baby massage:
Find a time in the day where it is best suited to massage. The child should not be too tired, then he may be sullen, and should not be full in the stomach as it may feel uncomfortable.
You must always get permission from the child to start a baby massage. A child who does not have verbal communication can communicate with body language. A child who accepts massage will express herself by keeping eye contact, being relaxed, steady breathing and making cuddle sounds. A child who does not want massage can express himself through crying, lack of eye contact, anxiety and tension. Remember to stop the massage if your child shows signs of it.
Make a great atmosphere:
Create a calm atmosphere.
Make sure the room has a hot temperature, so the baby doesn't get cold, about 24-27 degrees.
Make sure that your baby lay in a safe place.
Have a tick and soft pad for your baby to lay on.
Use vegetable oil, for example, sunflower oil, olive oil or coconut oil. Avoid using essential oils.
There are different ways to give the baby massage, and you can find your technique. Be gentle, keep your hands warm and talk to the baby all the time.