Touch has a healing power—even when we as adults feel emotionally stressed or are ill, a consoling touch can contribute to our well being. For babies, the sensation of touch is crucial for their survival. Touch becomes the first medium through which they communicate with you while you bond with them and make them feel more secure and comfortable.
When your baby receives loving and caring touch, they gradually start trusting you as their care provider, which helps form an emotional bond between a child and a parent. When you pick up your crying baby, it makes them realize that you understand their needs and feelings—this way your baby develops an attachment towards you.
How Skin-To-Skin Contact Helps Your Baby?
Right after birth, the baby is placed on the mother’s chest to ensure ample skin-to-skin contact. It helps them calm down after their dramatic transition from the mother’s womb to the outside world. Babies tend to adapt better to the conditions outside the womb when kept in contact with the mother.
An experiment was conducted to determine the positive effects of skin-to-skin contact after birth. Three groups of full-term newborns were studied to find out the extent of adaptions within 75 minutes after their birth. The first group of infants was given a proper skin-to-skin contact. Babies in group two were swaddled beside the mother while the newborns in group three were swaddled but separated from the mother.
The parameters like skin temperature, blood glucose, pH, heart rate, respiration rate and crying time of infants in all the groups were compared. It was found that the newborns who were separated from their mothers had an unstable body temperature. The glucose level was highest in infants who had a skin-to-skin contact with their mothers, followed by newborns who were swaddled and kept beside their mothers. The lowest glucose level was observed in babies who were separated from their mothers. These babies also cried the maximum number of times as compared to newborns in other groups.
The experiment lasted for only 75 minutes but the results clearly showed the importance of skin-to-skin contact after birth, which helps babies adapt to the external conditions after birth and protect them against hypothermia and low glucose levels.1
Touch not only benefits babies but it also helps parents develop a strong bond with them. The physical bond that develops in between the mother and child at birth and while breastfeeding continues to develop into a stronger connection. A mother’s touch can be stimulating for the baby while she feels a surge of emotions herself as her hormones kick in—she transfers this in the form of love and care she provides to the newborn.
How Fathers Benefit From Touch?
While mothers have been involved in developing a connection with their babies right from the time they realized they have conceived, for fathers such emotions don’t surface until after their baby’s birth. Touch becomes a prime way to develop an instant connection with the newborn. Cuddling, kissing, cradling or simply touching the newborn is where they naturally start bonding with the baby.
Infant massage is another way for fathers to bond with your little one through touch. Here is a step by step guide to give a massage to your baby.
Bonding is a gradual process that evolves over time. Bonding through touch is the way parents can slowly develop a foundation for their relationship and create an eternal bond with their baby.
|↑1||Mazurek, T., K. Mikiel-Kostyra, J. Mazur, P. Wieczorek, B. Radwańska, and L. Pachuta-Wegier. “Influence of immediate newborn care on infant adaptation to the environment.” Medycyna wieku rozwojowego 3, no. 2 (1999): 215-224.|