Importance of touch

Touch is the first sense to be developed in the womb and it is the last sense to leave us before we die.

Nature begins massaging babies long before they are born, first she rocks and floats then slowly her world surrounds her even more closely. The gentle caress of the womb becomes stronger, gradually becoming the contractions that rhythmically squeeze and push, providing massive stimulation to the infant’s skin and nervous system. Infants are accustomed to the tactile stimulation of constant movement and they need the reestablishment of those rhythms after birth.

Touch – reducing crying…

In two studies, mothers in one group were asked to carry their infants not only during crying or feeding but for extra periods of time each day in a soft front pack. These infants were compared with infants who were held and carried normally.

At six weeks the infants who received the extra touching and movement cried half as much as the others

Touch - more important than food?

A study was conducted whereby for a short period, baby monkeys were removed from their mothers and were placed into a cage. The cages contained two artificial mothers. The first was made of hard metal but contained an unlimited supply of milk.

The other was soft and warm, but contained no sustenance whatsoever.

In every instance, the baby monkeys spent all sleeping and waking time with the soft surrogate mother only leaving if for brief periods to obtain only the minimum amount of milk they needed to survive. This leaving of the comfortable mum is considered proof that touch is a more important factor to babies thriving than mere sustenance alone.