INFANT MASSAGE: A HANDBOOK FOR LOVING PARENTS – NEW EDITION!

I am happy to announce that the new updated, expanded edition of Infant Massage: a Handbook for Loving Parents has been released by Random House. It is available on Amazon.com and from most bookstores.

CHAPTERS:

  1. Why Massage Your Baby?

  2. Your Baby’s Sensory World

  3. The Importance of Skin Stimulation

  4. Stress and Relaxation

  5. Bonding, Attachment, and Infant Massage

  6. The Elements of Bonding

  7. Attachment and the Benefits of Infant Massage

  8. Especially for Fathers

  9. Helping your Baby (and you) Learn to Relax

  10. Your Baby’s Brain

  11. Music and Massage

  12. Getting Ready

  13. How to Massage Your Baby

  14. Crying, Fussing, and Other Baby Language (including cues, reflexes and behavioral states

  15. Minor Illness and Colic

  16. Your Premature Baby

  17. Your Baby with Special Needs

  18. Your Growing Child and Sibling Bonding through Infant Massage

  19. Your Adopted or Foster Children

  20. A Note to Teen Parents

BACK MATTER INCLUDES:

References and Recommendations

Resources

Author Bio

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The Importance of Skin Stimulation for Babies

Skin Stimulation Is Important for Mammals

Skin sensitivity is the earliest-developed and most fundamental functions of the body. Nurturing stimulation of the skin is, in fact, essential for adequate organic and psychological development, both for animals and for human beings. When asked what he thought of infant massage, anthropologist Ashley Montagu commented, “People don’t realize that communication for a baby, the first communications it receives and the first language of its development, is through the skin. If only most people had realized this they would have all along given babies the kind of skin stimulation they require.”
Behaviorally, mammals tend to fall into “cache” and “carry” types. The caching species leave their young for long periods while the mother gathers food. The infants must remain silent during those times so as not to attract predators, so they do not cry. For the same reason, they do not urinate unless stimulated by the mother. In addition, the young have internal mechanisms that control their body temperature. The mother’s milk is extremely high in protein and fat, and the infants suckle at a very fast rate.
In contrast, the carrying species maintain continuous contact with their infants and feed often. The babies suckle slowly, urinate often, cry when distressed or out of contact with the parent, and need the parent to keep them warm. The mother’s milk content is low in protein and fat, so infants need to suckle often. Humans are designed like the carrying species; in fact, human milk is identical in protein and fat content to that of the anthropoid apes, which are carrying species. Our infants need to be in close physical contact with us as much as possible.

No Colicky Kittens!

Physically, massage acts in much the same way in humans as licking does in animals. Animals lick their young and maintain close skin contact. Animal babies that are not licked, caressed, and permitted to cling in infancy grow up scrawny and more vulnerable to stress. They tend to fight with one another and to abuse and neglect their own young. Licking serves to stimulate the physiological systems and to bond the young with the mother. A mother cat spends more than 50 percent of her time licking her babies—and you will never see a colicky kitten! Without the kind of stimulation that helps their gastrointestinal system begin to function properly, newborn kittens die.
Scientists have seen behavior and responses in animals that parallel the growth and development of our own young, and these parallels are truly fascinating. In animals, the genitourinary tract will not function without the stimulation of frequent licking. Even the number of times a mother licks her young and the amount of time spent in each area are genetically determined.

Animals Benefit with Higher Immunity

When the infant mammal receives early skin stimulation, there is a highly beneficial influence on the immunological system. In one experiment, rats that were gently handled in infancy had a higher serum antibody standard in every case. More simply stated, these animals had a much greater ability to resist disease.
Equally important for our purposes was the behavior of these gentled rats. As Ashley Montagu wrote in Touching:
When handled, the gentled animals were relaxed and yielding. They were not easily frightened. . . . The researcher who had raised them . . . did so under conditions in which they were frequently handled, stroked, and had kindly sounds uttered to them, and they responded with fearlessness, friendliness, and a complete lack of neuromuscular tension or irritability. The exact opposite was true of the ungentled rats, who had received no attention whatever from human beings . . . these animals were frightened and bewildered, anxious and tense.
Among other important findings, rats that were gently handled for three weeks after weaning showed a faster weight gain than other rats under the same conditions, and those that were handled gently were physically much more resistant to the harmful effects of stress and deprivation.
In one study, rats with their thyroid and parathyroid glands (endocrine glands that regulate the immune system) removed responded remarkably to massage. In the experimental group, the rats were gently massaged and spoken to several times a day. They were relaxed, yielding, and not easily frightened, and their nervous systems remained stable. The control rats, which did not receive this type of care, were nervous, fearful, irritable, and enraged; they died within forty-eight hours. Another study with rats showed a higher immunity to disease, faster weight gain, and better neurological development among those that had been gently stroked in infancy.
Moving up the animal scale, dogs, horses, cows, dolphins, and many other animals have also shown remarkable differences when lovingly handled in infancy. The touch of the human hand improved the function of virtually all of the sustaining systems (respiratory, circulatory, digestive, eliminative, nervous, and endocrine) and increased “touchability,” gentleness, friendliness, and fearlessness. Writes Ashley Montagu: “The more we learn about the effects of cutaneous [skin] stimulation, the more pervasively significant for healthy development do we find it to be.”
Harry Harlow’s famous monkey experiments were the first to show that for infants, contact comfort is even more important than food. Infant monkeys given the choice of a wire mother figure that provided food or a soft terry-cloth figure that did not provide food chose the terry-cloth mother figure. Human infants with failure-to-thrive syndrome exhibit the same type of behavior: though given all the food they need, they continue to deteriorate if they receive no intervention that involves emotional nurturing, contact comfort, and care.
In nearly every bird and mammal studied, close physical contact has been found to be essential both to the infant’s healthy survival and to the mother’s ability to nurture. In the previously mentioned studies with rats, if pregnant females were restrained from licking themselves (a form of self-massage), their mothering activities were substantially diminished. Additionally, when pregnant female animals were gently stroked every day, their offspring showed higher weight gain and reduced excitability, and the mothers showed greater interest in their offspring, with a more abundant and richer milk supply.

Skin Stimulation Is Important for Human Babies

Evidence supports the same conclusions for humans. Touching and handling her baby assists the new mother in milk production by helping stimulate secretion of prolactin, the “mothering hormone.” The process begun at the embryonic stage thus continues, allowing a natural unfolding of the baby’s potential within the safe and loving arms of his mother.
Nurturing stimulation of the skin—handling, cuddling, rocking, and massage—increases cardiac functions of the human infant. Massage stimulates the respiratory, circulatory, and gastrointestinal systems—benefits especially appreciated by the “colicky” baby and his parents.
A baby’s first experience with the surrounding environment occurs through touch, developing prenatally as early as sixteen weeks. Nature begins the massage before the baby is born. As opposed to the extremely short labors of most other animals, it has been suggested that a human mother’s extended labor helps make up for the lack of postpartum licking performed by other mammal mothers. For the human infant, the contractions of labor provide some of the same type of preparation for the functioning of his internal systems as early licking of the newborn does for other mammals.
Touch impacts short-term development during infancy and early childhood, and it has long-term effects as well. Through this contact, newborns are able to learn about their world, bond with their parents, and communicate their needs and wants. Eighty percent of a baby’s communication is expressed through body movement. When parents engage in appropriate touch, young children have an improved chance to successfully develop socially, emotionally, and intellectually.
Infants who experience more physical contact with parents demonstrate increased mental development in the first six months of life compared to young children who receive limited physical interaction. This improved cognitive development has been shown to last even after eight years, illustrating the importance of positive interactions. Infants who receive above-average levels of affection from their parents are shown to be less likely to be hostile, anxious, or emotionally distressed as adults.
Studies with premature babies using techniques similar to those taught in this book have demonstrated that daily massage is of tremendous benefit. Research projects at the University of Miami Medical Center, headed up by the Touch Research Institute’s founder, Dr. Tiffany Field, have shown remarkable results. In one study, twenty premature babies were massaged three times a day for fifteen minutes each time. They averaged 47 percent greater weight gain per day, were more active and alert, and showed more mature neurological development than infants who did not receive massage. In addition, their hospital stay averaged six days less. After many years of study and observation, the International Association of Infant Massage has established guidelines for using massage and holding techniques with premature babies.
Dallas psychologist Ruth Rice conducted a study with thirty premature babies after they had left the hospital. She divided them into two groups. The mothers in the control group were instructed in usual newborn care, while those in the experimental group were taught a daily massage and rocking regime. At four months of age, the babies who had been massaged were ahead in both neurological development and weight gain.
The natural sensory stimulation of massage speeds myelination of the nerves in the brain and the nervous system. The myelin sheath is a fatty covering around each nerve, like insulation around electrical wire. It protects the nervous system and speeds the transmission of impulses from the brain to the rest of the body. The process of coating the nerves is not complete at birth, but skin stimulation hastens the process, thus enhancing rapid neural-cell firing and improving brain-body communication.
In 1978 transcutaneous oxygen monitoring was developed, which enabled physicians to measure oxygen tension in the body through an electrode on the skin. It was discovered that hospitalized infants experienced tremendous upheavals in oxygen levels when subjected to stress. Touch Relaxation, holding techniques, and massage (as covered in my book Infant Massage: a Handbook for Loving Parents) have been found to mitigate these fluctuations, and these methods are being used in hospitals routinely now to help infants maintain a steady state through the stresses of diaper changes, heel sticks, and other intrusions.
New research demonstrates similar results every day, confirming what age-old tradition has told us: infants need loving touch. Lawrence Schachner, M.D., a professor in the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery at the University of Miami School of Medicine, advises that touch can benefit babies with skin disorders such as eczema. “It may furthermore improve parent-baby interaction,” he says. Dr. Tiffany Field concurs. She notes that loving touch triggers physiological changes that help infants grow and develop, stimulating nerves in the brain that facilitate food absorption and lowering stress hormone levels, resulting in improved immune system functioning. A report by the Families and Work Institute states that the vast majority of connections between brain cells are formed during the first three years of life. The report concludes that loving interaction such as massage can directly affect a child’s emotional development and ability to handle stress as an adult.
Loving skin contact and massage benefit mothers and fathers as well. In addition, research has shown that mothers whose pregnancies were filled with chronic stress often have babies who cry more and for longer periods than those whose pregnancies were peaceful and supported.
Men who make the effort to bond with their infants by giving the mother loving massages, talking and singing to the baby, feeling its movements in their partner’s belly, attending classes with their partner, and reading up on infant development and psychology tend to be more attentive and accomplished fathers.

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Source: Google Translate

Many parents believe it is useful to let your baby mourn. The popular wisdom says that a few minutes of crying do not harm but help him calm down and get sleep.

This is the technique of progressive expected , which was developed by Dr. Richard Ferber, neurologist and pediatrician at Harvard University at Children ‘s Hospital Boston (USA) , which is still used today worldwide.

Almost no one really knows what happens when babies keep crying, but the physical and psychological consequences could affect his whole life.

When a baby cries without their parents consoled increases your stress level because, through her tears, wants to express something , either hunger, pain or even need company. The child is totally dependent on them.

If parents ignore their calls, your body will produce stress hormones and, eventually, this may damage your central nervous system , as well as their growth and learning ability.

In an interview for the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung , Karl Heinrich Brisch, chief of psychosomatic medicine at Children ‘s Hospital of the University of Munich, explained that babies who leave mourn “quickly learn to activate an emergency program in its brain, similar to the reflex action of the tanatosis observed in some animals who see their lives threatened, and that is to simulate death. “ This affects brain development, so children do not learn to adapt to stress.

Bonding With Your Baby

Bonding, the intense attachment that develops between you and your baby, is completely natural. And it’s probably one of the most pleasurable aspects of infant care.

Source: Bonding With Your Baby

Bonding is the intense attachment that develops between parents and their baby. It makes parents want to shower their baby with love and affection and to protect and care for their little one. Bonding gets parents up in the middle of the night to feed their hungry baby and makes them attentive to the baby’s wide range of cries.

Scientists are still learning a lot about bonding. They know that the strong ties between parents and their child provide the baby’s first model for intimate relationships and foster a sense of security and positive self-esteem. And parents’ responsiveness to an infant’s signals can affect the child’s social and cognitive development.

Maternal singing during skin-to-skin contact benefits both preterm infants, mothers

Source: Maternal singing during skin-to-skin contact benefits both preterm infants, mothers

This is why we teach a lullaby to accompany infant massage (in the case of NICU, holding methods and “Resting Hands.”

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My mom spoils me and my hippocampus grows

Published 01/18/2016 · Category Babies and Children

A study at the University of Washington concluded that children who received more support from their parents had a greater development of the brain region linked with memory and emotions.

By Pedro Lipcovich

My mom spoils me Research published today adds a strong argument for the notion that the brain structures, far from being only determined by biology, constitute the links established throughout life, beginning with early childhood. The study, conducted at the University of Washington, is called “the maternal support in early childhood predicts larger volumes of the hippocampus in school age” and was divided into two sections separated by several years. The first part consisted of an ingenious test to assess the degree of support that the mother or father could give children three to five years in an everyday situation. The second part consisted of applying those kids, and at school age, an MRI to measure the size of the hippocampus, linked to memory and emotion structure: it turned out, the guys who had better maternal support, that part brain had achieved greater weight and volume.

The work is published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, and is signed by a team from the Department of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine at Washington University in Saint Louis, led by Joan Luby. The first part of the test was made several years ago with boys who were between three and five years. In a research laboratory behavior, were tested in the company of a parent, usually the mother, the boy handed him a gift, wrapped in gift paper, but with the slogan wait eight minutes before opening; mother, meanwhile, had to complete a written questionnaire. The test sought to establish, according to predetermined standards, to what extent support the mother gave the boy in the situation, relatively stressful to wait before opening the gift. The fact that the mother had to turn a task, completing questionnaires, sought to reproduce the structure of an everyday situation in which the mother or caregiver the boy must perform tasks while addresses contain the anxieties of the child. The greater or lesser maternal support was recorded on a scale score, and what was established at that time was the correlation between lower maternal support and an increased risk of depression in children.

The second phase of the research was conducted on 92 children, when they were between 7 and 13 years and was to determine, using MRI, the size of a brain structure called the hippocampus. The result was that in the boys-in testing had shown the preescolar- receive sufficient maternal support, the size of the hippocampus was 10 percent higher than in children who had not received that support. The article notes that the hippocampus “is a central region for memory, emotion regulation and maturation of stress, key areas for healthy social adaptation.” The hippocampus is the only place in the brain in which over a lifetime develop new neurons (last Friday, Pagina / 12 reported on recent work by researchers at the Leloir Institute CONICET).

Joan Luby, director of research at the University of Washington, said that “for years, studies highlighted the importance of early care for the proper development of children, but generally limited to factors such as school performance: study it is the first to show an anatomical change in the brain in relation to the importance of early parental action. “

Mariela Terzaghi, head of Neurology Noel H. Sbarra Hospital of La Plata, said that this research “is part of a series of works that break with the idea of a unique genetic determination for the brain, making place to the influence of aspects between which it should also include the historical, social and cultural conditions of parenting. However, larger hippocampal not necessarily better function, and should not assume that issues explain the mind from brain locations. “

Sergio Rodriguez -coautor Crossings between psychoanalysis and neurobiology said the report from the University of Washington “concerning the logic of research on neurotic depression, where the decreasing depression coincides with increased activity in the hippocampus and the cingulate core brain “.

Links and Attachment

On sait maintenant à quel point le lien d’attachement est important. Mais comment l’établir?

Source: Liens et attachement

FROM THE FRENCH:

The benefits of a secure attachment

A baby who develops a stable and secure attachment relationship with his parents in the early years of his life is more likely to be well equipped to handle difficult situations throughout his life. Instead, a baby who could not form this close relationship with significant adults may struggle to adapt to group life. The attachment is even essential to the survival of the human being.

Although the first years of life are very important to establish a link attachment, be aware that built up over a lifetime.

A strong attachment so has several advantages:

  • The child will feel loved and safe. When he grows up, the child will feel that he is worthy of affection and it will have a positive perception of others. It will be easier for him to reach out to others, to explore their environment and new experiences. On the contrary, children with insecure attachment will be reluctant to love and be loved. It will react badly to compliments and rewards. For example, it will deny that it makes the hugs .
  • The baby will know that he can rely on his parents to meet their needs. It will have more confidence in him when explore the world around him and will more confidence to others. By cons, a child with an inadequate attachment bond will tend to pull away from those around him, as if he had given up the idea that we can meet their needs. It might even develop distrust of adults.
  • A child who feels secure is easier to learn and thrive on the engine and intellectually.
  • The child will have a greater ability to adapt to different situations in life, because it will feel supported by his family and will be better able to control their emotions in stressful situations. For example, the separation from the adult when he starts attending the daycare or school will be easier.
  • The attachment will facilitate the learning of social skills and the sharing of emotions. A child with a secure attachment also manifest more empathy and cooperation with others. This will help to form strong relationships with other children, educators, daycare or teachers at school. In the absence of such a link attachment, a child will live more conflicts with children his age because he socialize only to meet its own needs. Indeed, children with insecure attachment will look much the focus . He will have difficulty to share adult attention and to admit his faults. It could even be manipulative and hostile when he does not get what he wants. So it will be more likely to have problems with behavior and delinquency older.
  • As an adult, he will have more chance to live healthy relationships and be satisfied at work. On the contrary, the person without secure attachment will be more likely to experience dissatisfaction in their couple relationships and even domestic violence. Labour relations will risk also to be a source of conflict.

How to foster a secure attachment

The first of a baby attachment link is generally established with his mother, but the bond he shares with his father is just as important. A bond of attachment can also be formed with an aunt, a grandparent or a teacher. The one with his parents, however, remains the most important.

Some behaviors favor the creation of an attachment link:

Before 18 months, a child is unable to make a whim, because his brain is not developed enough. If a baby cries to be taken is that it needs to be reassured. So you do not spoil your child when you respond to their needs. You rather teach him that he can count on you.
  • Meet the needs of your baby with affection, tenderness and consistency. For example, if your baby cries , try to give him what he needs, whether drinking, changing layer or a hug.
  • Respond quickly to your baby’s crying. This will allow him to feel less stress. With time, you learn to recognize the signals of your baby and you will respond more effectively to their needs. Your baby will know and he can count on you to ensure comfort and safety.
  • Interact with your baby tenderly. Rock her, hold it in your arms and talk to him gently.
  • Accept the child as it is, with its strengths and weaknesses. This will allow him to feel that he can be loved and promote the development of good self-esteem .

Remember that your baby needs only a good parent, not a perfect parent. So do not worry about mistakes you might make. As your baby will know that you can count on most of the time he will adapt.

If you feel unable to care for your baby, or because you live a depression or for any other reason, seek help from your spouse or relative. Consult your doctor or contact your CLSC about the services available in your area. Similarly, if you do not understand the needs of your baby despite your ability to care, consult your doctor. He feels perhaps health problems.
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