The most natural gesture in the world for a mother is to reach out and touch her new born baby. To feel the soft skin, to count those tiny little fingers and toes, to stroke your baby’s cheek and hair. It’s an automatic feeling to do this and a positive one. In the hospital after giving birth you are told to do skin to skin so you bond much better with your baby and for your partner to do the same as much as they can. This is so your baby can hear your heart and feel your breath up close helping parents and babies to bond!

As your baby grows you may decide to go to a baby massage course or baby yoga. These two classes are great to help you and your baby bond even more. They also help your baby to know the feel of ‘same’ and ‘different’, helping them develop one of their 5 senses.  Massaging helps to calm your baby down and can be part of a bed time routine, a gentle relaxing way of preparing them for sleep. Touch is not only important for babies but for children of all ages. Give your child a big hug or simply just hold their hand to connect through touch.  This helps your child to feel secure within themselves and loved.

If your baby is placed on their stomach without clothing for a short time before bath (remember I talked about ‘Tummy Time‘ last week), they experience sensations over their body’s skin which they may otherwise miss. Gently stroke your baby’s back, arms and legs with your hands. Pat them gently all over or tap them with your fingertips.

You could use something soft and velvety to add to your baby’s experience of touch. A piece of soft corduroy is ideal for this or a comforter.

When your baby starts to reach out to touch she will begin to notice the difference between the touch of the mother’s skin compared to the father’s. A father’s skin may be hairier or rougher and a mother’s much softer. Your baby will soon have a fascination with faces in front of them. Your baby will begin to smile or gurgle when they notice a familiar face!

By this stage your baby will love playing peek-a-boo. This game helps to get your baby ready for when you have to leave them for work or other outings. Your baby will realise that you will return by showing that they cannot see you now but you will be back. It helps to reassure your baby and takes their mind away from missing mummy or daddy.

Things we suggest for you to do with baby in month 5/issue 5:

  • Imitate your baby’s sounds.
  • Introduce your baby to friends and relatives to help them to recognise different voices.
  • Provide your baby with lots of objects to mouth.
  • Baby proof your home so it is safe to explore.
  • Check baby’s hearing.
  • Give baby a gentle massage after their bath!

You can find lots more about the topics above in Issue 5 of our Growing Child Programme. I hope you enjoyed and found this interesting. Remember you can always learn something new about your baby no matter how experienced you are. Next week Mary looks at travel tips. Until then take care and stay safe.