Many young families today are learning about infant massage. It's a parenting practice that has been used globally for centuries and has become the norm for many families today. Some parents may have heard the term infant or baby massage and are not quite sure what it is all about. Others may have been exposed to a class through the hospital or other parenting programs they have attended. There are also all kinds of books, media and videos about massaging babies. But, a true hands-on approach is invaluable as it demonstrates and models the techniques so that parents become comfortable in their interactions.
Newborns in the womb are developing very rapidly. The first sense to develop is the sense of touch. The skin, which contains millions of sensory receptors, is the sensory organ for touch. Moving around in the mothers womb babies are exquisitely being formed and experiencing touch from all that surrounds them. It’s no wonder that after birth, the first sense they understand is how they are being touched and held. The arms of a mother invite her infant to snuggle close. The experience of these embraces can be called the “womb with a view.”
Touch alone conveys messages without words. In developing a loving relationship with an infant or child it is through the way we handle and communicate with them — the way we are touched. Touch has been called the language of love.Touch is paramount and the mother of all senses. Often words just don’t transfer the message as much as loving embrace, a hug or a kiss.
When one develops a good sense of rapport with an infant or child the magic emerges — as when one would witness two people interacting in a mutually positive way —rapport or bond is the name given to the magic that emerges when two people interact to form positive or primarily positive impressions or attitudes towards one another. It is a feeling of sameness and accord threaded with a basic trust.
Trust is the emotional cornerstone for healthy development. Once rapport is established, it continues to ebb and flow depending on the way the relationship is interpreted by the people within that relationship. Rapport appears to be the core around which all relationships are formed. The more solid and emotionally healthy the core, the more comfortable and growth producing the relationship becomes.
For example, think about a time when you saw a mother and child in perfect harmony with each other, a synchronizing of movements and interactions. This synchronizing of movement and interactions can be established through the regular practice of infant/pediatric massage.
About the Author
Baby Wit is excited to talk with Diana Moore, who established one of the first training programs for infant massage. Diana began teaching infant massage therapy in the 1970s. Her company, Loving Touch, now provides CIMI®or Certified Infant Massage Instructor Training to healthcare facilities all over the world.
Baby Wit has not received any compensation for publishing this article. We just appreciate the work that Diana has done in the Portland community and believe that regularly practicing infant massage will help establish the rapport and trust you need to make diaper changing much easier.