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  • Amy Saloner
  • NBP Mama

When I think about sharing the idea of touch with new moms, words and thoughts flood my mind. Those thoughts can always be reduced down to connection. Touch is the easiest way to connect directly and meaningfully with our babies - anytime, anywhere.

Babies come from a world of constant touch. They come from the womb. They have grown for nearly 10 months from a single cell to a full-blown human all in the space of constant touch. Every opportunity we have to restore touch to our lives and theirs is an opportunity for greater love and longevity of closeness.

Touch amplifies emotional connection. The electrical charge that pulses through our bodies is magnified and changed through touch. When we stroke our new baby’s cheek, hold them to our chest or grasp their little fingers, we are changed. They are changed. Physically, our bodies release oxytocin during sustained touch. It only takes 6 seconds of continuous touch to experience heightened levels of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone that triggers feelings of love.
But there is a catch. Touch has to be direct skin-to-skin contact for the full release of oxytocin.

There are so many ways to touch skin-to-skin, and yet so many new parents are afraid to do just that. Here are a few reminders of ways to bond through touch, and heighten those feelings of connection. Jump in!


Bathtime

The first bath, and every bath thereafter (until they kick us out of the bathroom) is an opportunity to connect and show love through touch. Embrace the experience. Scrub their hair, tickle their prune-wrinkled feet, and gently pick away at that stubborn bit of grime even after it is gone.

Baby Massage

Touch through baby massage has countless benefits, from helping us better understand each other’s queues to inspiring our babies bodies to grow. Generally a baby massage can last for 15 minutes. You’ll know when it is time to stop if they start wriggling a bit too much or start to cry.

Feeding

No matter how you feed, try to make sure your skin is touching baby’s. They are getting more than nutrient nourishment from their food. Your touch during feeding is a critical component of growth, health and bonding.

Diaper Changes

The best diaper changes can last a solid 30 minutes. They have your full attention. After all, we can’t leave baby, even for a moment, alone on the changing table. You get to peel away their layers of clothes, notice every bit of their skin, laugh, play and fully engage. Cleaning up a mess may only take a few minutes, but the connections that can be shared during a diaper change can last a lifetime.

Morning Hugs

Now that my boys are 9 and 12, we don’t have nearly as much time to touch as we once did, but we still have our morning hugs. We wrap up in each other’s arms and I silently count for 6 seconds, knowing that a regular dose of oxytocin every morning will contribute to a better day for everyone. It is never too early to start the ritual of morning hugs.


Together, largely through touch, we form the bonds that will hopefully carry us through all the hard things that happen in life – theirs and ours. By truly connecting, we develop empathy to experience each other’s reality with a depth that allows us to cry when they cry and do a happy dance when they are happy. When we feel what they feel, they know. They feel appreciated. They feel loved. We feel loved.

 

Find great FREE resources for expecting parents - like the Best Ever Baby Free Birth Plan and Hospital-Birthing Center Guide - at BestEverBaby.com  Find the #1 organic baby skincare in Hospital Birthing Centers - Babytime! by Episencial - at Episencial.com

A second-generation natural products expert, fourth generation entrepreneur and mom of two boys, Kim combines her activism for health and environmentalism with clinical expertise to found, develop and advocate on behalf of effective, authentically natural brands and products. Leading child health advocacy groups and national media rely on Kim’s clinical expertise to help parents navigate the often-confusing world of natural products.