Baby Massage & Yoga: Loving Touch

Baby massage and baby yoga follow the principle that touch is a fundamental part of a baby's development. Research shows that touching and holding babies are key factors for helping them develop socially and mentally. Skin covers our entire body making it our biggest sensory organ. Thanks to a vast network of nerves we can feel touch at any point in our body. When we are touched the nerves send signals to our brain which helps us makes sense of the outside world, a vital skill for babies to develop.  

Touch is the very first sense to be developed in the womb, so babies are aware of touch for a much longer time than any other sense making it therefore very comforting to a baby. Whilst in the womb, babies are used to constant stimulation as they are moved around within the mother's body. Once the baby is born, they often need cradling and cuddling with movement to re-establish similar feelings of touch that they have been used to.

When babies are born, we are advised to have skin on skin time to help regulate baby's temperature, breathing and heart rate. It overall calms the baby and mother and releases the love hormone, Oxytocin helping to create a secure attachment bond. Both our baby classes extend skin on skin time throughout the baby's first year of life. Having this close contact with the parent/carer releases more Oxytocin creating loving, caring, relaxing and empathetic behaviour. It builds the trust and love between the parent/carer and baby and boosts the baby's emotional wellbeing. Oxytocin can also have a physical effect of pain relief so can help babies if they have ailments such as teething or growing pains.  

Providing loving touch between parents/carers and babies is a very nurturing thing to do which will usually bring happiness to the baby. It helps make the baby feel at peace, comfortable, safe, secure and builds trust with the adult they are with.  

Touch can aid positive physical development throughout the entire body by stimulating all of the baby's major systems including; respiration, digestion, learning ability, immune function, language development and co-ordination. Participating in baby massage and yoga not only strengthens these systems and makes then more efficient, but supports neurological development also. This gives babies better spatial awareness, improved balance and an overall better understanding of their own body and limbs as well as movement control.  

There have been multiple studies into the importance of touch and how this impacts physical, mental and emotional development. Babies who receive above average levels of loving touch are proven to have more positive attributes, both mentally and physically. Practising baby massage and yoga reinforces the natural power of touch and is a really nurturing way to communicate security and trust.

Baby Yoga and Baby Massage classes take place with Ruth at the Spark Life Studio on Bury Old Road on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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