They have left the safety and comfort of the womb and are now thrust into a cold, noisy, confusing, new environment. They can’t use words yet to tell us when they are hungry, wet, have a sore tummy or are often just plain frightened. What do our babies need? When we listen to our hearts we realize that babies need reassurance that they are going to be taken care of. They need to feel safe. As their needs are met, through touch and physical contact, they begin to believe that they are safe and their confidence blossoms. They are bonding! Bonding is that powerful “falling in love” connection between a baby and its parent which grows and lasts a lifetime. In those early days, through the bonding process, we lay the foundation for their future relationships. It’s important to know that not every parent and baby will fall in love and bond in those first moments after birth. Moms will often comment that they feel terrible because they didn’t feel that huge bond the moment the baby was born. Please know that it can take time. Massage is a beautiful way to stimulate that bonding for moms and dads. When we do massage with our babies, we find a comfortable place to sit, we turn the heat up and our phones, tv, and computer off. We put on soft music. We are going to spend a few tender minutes massaging and being fully present with our baby. It’s amazing. Talk about falling in love!! During an infant massage class, I sometimes have the opportunity to massage a baby. I may not know him or her well at all, but I can feel myself falling in love with that baby and know that the feeling is reciprocal. Massage creates an exchange of energy between two people which is profound. I could talk endlessly about the emotional benefits of infant massage but there are also many physiological benefits too. Through touch, brain cells are triggered which helps aid in brain development and can result in higher IQs. Touch can help to stimulate nerves responsible for digestion and therefore promote weight gain. Stress hormones are lowered in response to gentle touch so babies sleep better and have a higher developed immune system. Babies with colic can experience great relief through massage. Research shows that high touch societies have less crime and violence. I am convinced that the way we will create a kinder, gentler and healthier human race is to create it one baby at a time. The more our babies get their needs met and receive gentle, respectful, nurturing touch the more they will become kinder and gentler children and adults.