Touch Tip #1

blog baby massageWelcome and thanks for visiting Sanctuary Healing Arts blog! I hope you’ll be back to read my monthly blog of shared wisdom about how we women can care for ourselves and our wee ones with the hands-on healing arts.

Let’s start where touch begins … In utero and at birth, touch is a baby’s most developed sense. Remember it? You’re in a watery, warm cocoon growing and feeling your mama’s uterus touching you as you grow. As she moves and you move, you have constant skin contact and stimulation. Your skin is your largest organ right from the beginning of life. And voila when you’re born, what happens to those familiar, friendly sensations? In most cultures around the world, women help their babies transition into their “4th trimester” and life outside the womb by carrying them skin to skin in a sling and giving them daily massages. These babies reap many benefits from these simple hands-on traditions – enhanced bond and attachment, attuned non-verbal communication, quiet alert states with happier moods, better sleep patterns, improved weight gain, better motor coordination and a strong sense of how to be appropriately touched…just to name a few. Not surprisingly, these cultures have lower rates of childhood nervous system problems (sensory integration issues, ADHD, depression, etc.). Does it surprise you that these cultures also tend to have less violence in their homes and communities?

What is happening in our culture with our pregnancy, birth and newborn care practices? Are we respecting each baby’s wishes and vital need for touch? Please share your stories about touch with you and your wee one!

If you’re interested in the science and research about touch and human development, I recommend “The Vital Touch” by Sharon Heller PhD and “What’s Going On In There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life” by Lise Eliot PhD.

Touch Tip #1

When you reach out to touch or massage a baby, ask his or her permission first … “May I touch you?” Watch for his or her body language – great eye contact and relaxed open body position are your cues to proceed. This quiet, alert time is a baby’s favorite time to interact and learn. Watch the baby’s response and further cues closely and follow his or her lead as you continue to interact. If the baby’s body language tells you that it’s not the right time, respect that and offer another time. Enjoy and have fun touching your wee one!

Follow my monthly blog for more tips on …

  • wearing and massaging your baby
  • partner massage for expectant mamas
  • birth partners’ best hands-on comfort measures for labor and birth
  • how can a Labor TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) Unit helps women in labor
  • preparing for a positive breastfeeding experience for you and your baby (or babies!)
  • self massage for a healthy bellies and breasts


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