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Reach Out and Touch Someone

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Just like the rest of us, your baby loves human touch — and studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact can have beneficial effects on parent-child bonding. Your baby has made the transition from a warm, enclosed environment to a cold, open one. Close touch imitates the security of the womb and makes your baby's transition to the outside world less traumatic and more bearable.

Gently touching and even massaging your baby makes him feel nurtured, protected, and secure. What's more, human touch may also improve your baby's growth and development — and the closeness it promotes makes it easier for parents to bring the newest family member into the fold.

Follow these steps to give your baby a soothing, relaxing massage:
  • Make sure the room is warm.
  • Choose a secure area where there's no possibility of falling; many people simply put a soft blanket on the floor.
  • Undress your baby (down to his T-shirt and diaper).
  • It's not necessary to use oil, but if you choose to, pour a small amount of any bland, nonperfumed oil (even vegetable oil is fine) into the palm of one hand, and then rub your hands together to warm the oil up before you apply it to your baby's skin. Remember, he could get very slippery and hard to handle when he's all greased up!
  • Beginning with his feet and legs, gently move your hands upward toward your baby's chest and arms, using firm strokes.
  • When you get to your baby's upper body, cover his legs and feet with a blanket, and then remove his shirt.
Keep it up only as long as your baby seems to be enjoying the massage — and have fun!  

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