Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Mother's Touch

"Failure to thrive", three words mothers never want to hear. I remember hearing about orphanages in Romania, where babies were failing to thrive, wasting away to nothing because they were not being touched and held. I think that's what first made me aware of the importance of touch. These children were dying from lack of human contact. Heartbreaking.

Since then I've read studies of babies in NICU and how the ones massaged daily gained more weight then those who did not even though they were fed the same amount. I amazed at the wonders of human contact.

As a Kindermusik instructor we are trained on the importance of touch for making brain connections, for stimulating the nervous system, and for bonding. While none of the children I have had in class were dealing with failure to thrive, touch is still so important that each of the infant classes I teach includes a baby massage time. We gently massage baby's chest with a heart shape motion and "milk" the arms and legs. We make it fun by singing songs or chanting rhymes during this time. Moms and babies both enjoy this time. You can join a class to learn how we do it or try it yourself at home.

Touching and holding go hand and hand. I didn't realize before training as a Kindermusik instructor the importance of varying the way we hold babies. Holding babies in all different ways let them see life from different perspectives which stimulates brain growth by making more connections. try holding your baby in a different way today. Fly them high in the air, swoop them around, my favorite- the football hold, just try something new. Hold your baby, touch your baby, and be so thankful that you won't have to hear the words "failure to thrive".


  1. That breaks my heart to hear that some babies could die from lack of human contact. :(

  2. As someone whose background is in neuroscience, I know just how important touch is to baby's health and development. The brain literally does not develop and grow additional neurons as it should if there is not enough touching and cuddling. Very good post! I am your newest follower via MBC. Visit/follow me at www.fatnutritionwriter.com