Did you know that between the ages of newborn to 3 years old, a million connections are made in the brain per second? Massaging our babies, singing to them, gazing into their eyes and meeting their needs all help to build these healthy neural pathways and enable them to thrive.
As we look back on Infant Massage Awareness Week 2023 (11-17 September), we are reminded of the profound impact that nurturing touch can have on our little ones during this crucial stage of life.
The connections made during this special time, in which the babies are fully respected and listened to – we always ask for permission before massaging to make sure they are fully happy to be touched – help to build a healthy bond and attachment between baby and caregiver. This results in both parent and baby feeling empowered, loved and resected and likely to go out into the world and spread love and respect as it has been modelled to them.
The Miracle of Brain Development
During those first few years of life a baby’s brain soaks up experiences from the world around them. These early connections lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning, emotional regulation, and social development.
The Power of Touch
Infant massage provides a beautiful, nurturing opportunity for a caregiver to connect with their baby and enhance this incredible brain development journey. It goes far beyond soothing muscles; it’s about creating a strong emotional bond between parent and child that will last a lifetime and inform the child’s future relationships.
Here are just a few benefits of infant massage:
- Bonding and Attachment: Through the gentle strokes of baby massage, caregivers and babies connect on a profound level. This attachment builds trust and forms the basis for secure relationships in the future.
- Emotional Well-being: The loving and nurturing touch of massage releases oxytocin, the “love hormone,” reducing the release of cortisol and stress levels for both the baby and caregiver. It promotes relaxation, better sleep, and overall emotional well-being.
- Physical Health: Massaging your baby can help with common discomforts like wind, constipation, colic, and teething pain. It aids digestion and promotes circulation, contributing to overall physical health.
- Cognitive Development: Regular massage and gentle movement helps regulate emotions and contributes to brain development.
Infant massage is a beautiful reminder that the simple acts of a caregivers presence, love, and nurturing touch have the power to enable babies to thrive and as they grow, they take that love and release it into the world around them, creating a spiral of joy.
In the words of IAIM (International Association of Infant Massage) founder, Vimala McClure;
“‘The chalice of this infant’s heart is filled to overflowing, and as she grows she will seek opportunities to share her love with others. And how will she do this? By following the model she has been given. She will be there for others in the way her caregivers have been there for her. What a lovely, healthy cycle.”
For more information see her website.