Recently I was asked about the benefits of infant massage. Most people understand infants of all species need some affection and touch. When it comes to our human infants it’s a proven fact their ability to thrive depends upon touch. Infant massage is a way to sooth babies and also to let them know they are loved. It’s also a way to wake up parts of their body and comfort them when they are feeling pain.
Touch isn’t just about using our hands to pick up and soothe a child. It works throughout nature.
Experiments on touch using rodents resulted in the knowledge that touch isn’t always about affection.
When a rodent licks her young it stimulates their organs to get started. If the touch is prohibited the young will die, because their kidneys and bladder won’t work. So, when we see a cat or other critters licking their young they’re not cleaning them or loving them, they’re doing the job of turning on switches in the nervous system.
Infants have no idea of what love is yet. They have no idea how to affect the world around them or manipulate adults around them. That’s why I feel worried when I hear people advise young parents, “don’t let them make you spoil them”. I have never heard of worse advice.
All that infant knows as it’s learning to trust the world around them is that if they call someone comes, or they don’t. They learn quickly if no one comes, they don’t bother after a while. This causes the child to be quiet, but not for the reasons you might think. It’s Because they have learned that no one is coming and they emotionally shut down.
That same adult who conditioned their child by not answering the cries of their infant, will wonder why that same child is cold, or unresponsive later on in life. When the child grows up the parents ask “ Why does he or she not come to me when they’re hurting or need something?” The answer is simple, you trained them not to.
Well, they already learned that they will not be receiving any comfort from the parents. They feel more inclined to speak to a stranger when they need guidance over their parents. Unfortunately the person they may turn to doesn’t have their best interest at heart.
If you want your child to come to you first when they’re in pain or confused, then show them you are someone who cares, tend to them when they’re young and first learning who you are to them. Chances are you will have a loving child who grows into a compassionate adult, and when they are hurting, you’ll be the first person they call.