Attachment Parenting International‘s fourth principle of parenting is “use nurturing touch.” API explains:
Babies are born with urgent and intense needs and depend completely on others to meet them. Nurturing touch helps meet a baby’s need for physical contact, affection, security, stimulation and movement. Parents who choose a nurturing approach to physical interactions with their children promote development of healthy attachments. Even as children get older their need to stay connected through touch remains strong.
To learn more about using nurturing touch, take a look at the resources below. If you have specific questions about this category or know of additional resources that should be on our list, please contact us.
- The Importance of Physical Play in Child Development, by Livestrong.com: An article explaining the benefits of physical play to children’s learning and health as well as some links for great ideas and products related to physical play.
- The Primacy of Human Touch, by Ben E. Benjamin, PhD: An excellent PDF newsletter explaining the benefits of touch and physical activity for infants and people of all ages.
- Anatomy of Baby Carriers: A page of drawings of different styles of baby carriers.
- The Baby Wearer: This site includes a forum for babywearing and also reviews of many babywearing products and vendors. It also provides information on the safety of babywearing.
- Babywearing: Written by Maria Giangiulio Blois, M.D., a mother of two children (both of whom she ‘wore’), this handy read is perfect for those interested in learning the facts as they pertain to babywearing. It explores the pros of babywearing, and it educates readers on how to choose and use the carrier that is most suited to them. Also quite nifty is the section in the book that discusses how to make a homemade baby carrier.
- Babywearing Instructions: Compilation of instructions for baby carriers and different positions.
- Babywearing International: This site includes a forum and info on safety but also includes information on International Babywearing week and descriptions of the different styles of carriers.
- Dr. Sears on babywearing: This page offers a wealth of information on how to wear your baby. There are links to information on different holds, babywearing for dads, and the many benefits of wearing your baby including helping with colic and caring for a premature infant.
- Ten Reasons to Wear Your Baby: If you’re wondering what’s so great about babywearing, you must check out this site! Each item on the list includes a nice, lengthy description so that you can really grasp the benefits of this beautiful practice.
- Wear Your Baby: A great page with links to instructional videos, how to nurse in your carrier, how to make your own wrap for baby, and more.
- “The Importance of Skin to Skin Contact” by Jack Newman, M.D.: An article from The Natural Child Project that talks about skin to skin contact immediately after birth and how it can help with breastfeeding reflexes and facilitates better latching of baby. It also mentions the importance of skin to skin for premature babies.
- Paternal Skin-to-Skin Contact Offers Cesarean-Born Baby Same Calming & Development Benefits As Mom: A study following 29 infant-father pairs concluded that nurturing contact with dads is best for infant development when mothers are unavailable immediately after birth.
- The Chemistry of Attachment at The Baby Bond: An excellent article explaining the physiological components of skin to skin contact and bonding that occurs during and after birth.
- Kangaroo Care: The Best You Can Do to Help Your Preterm Infant, Susan M. Ludington-Hoe, Ph.D.: A book that details the reasons for utilizing Kangaroo Care while specifically citing the scientific research behind this method of care. The authors provide step-by-step instructions on implementing this type of contact. Although it is extremely beneficial for premature babies, Kangaroo Care and Kangaroo style holds are great for all newborns.
- Kangaroo Care Saves Preemie Baby Jamie: CNN video report of an amazing account of a premature baby saved by skin to skin contact with the mother.
- Kangaroo Mother Care: This website is a resource for parents and caregivers of premature babies, but also indicates the wonderful benefits of kangaroo care for full-term babies as well. Articles, explanations, photos and more all help to promote kangaroo care.
- How to Massage Your Baby for Health and Happiness: Seven and a half minute instructional video for massaging a baby. It describes the supplies needed and the physical and emotional benefits that may result. These techniques could be applied to massaging an older child as well.
- Using Massage to Your Toddler’s Advantage: While not all of the info in this article may correspond to natural parenting, the author describes how important it is to ask the toddler for permission and to listen to his/her restrictions (i.e., the child says it is okay to massage arms but not legs). Not only can this strengthen the trust between parent and child and teach boundaries, the author further states that this can prevent potential abuse by other caregivers because the child will learn that his/her body is their own and that it is okay to say no to being touched.
- The Healthy Belly – Baby Massage, by Kim Walls, MS: This article reminds us that touch helps babies grow and develop and also helps mothers feel stress relief by implementing this technique.
- Infant Massage, by A Foundation for Healthy Family Living: Great information about the role and benefits of infant massage as well as resources for training in this area.