There are very few things in early life that are more important than developing a strong connection between mother and child, and one of the most powerful ways of forging this relationship is through touch and massage.
Research has found that bonding through touch not only brings the two of you closer together, but the positive attachment between you also helps to influence later development, playing a role in how your baby will relate to others, her language development and self-esteem. here are a few key signs you may notice that will let you know the bond between you is growing even stronger.
Sign – Longer gazes
All babies are naturally curious and like to look at people and objects around them, but when your baby feels connected to you, you’ll notice a difference in the way she looks at you. As she becomes more engaged, she’ll begin to make frequent eye contact with you. Don’t worry if each gaze doesn’t last very long – babies need to look away in order to process information, so it’s perfectly natural for them to make eye contact, then gaze away, and then make eye contact once again. As your bond grows, it helps your baby progress in her development and explore her world. Your attention and affection is helping to build a foundation of trust not only in you, but for all future relationships.
Sign – More Vocalizations
Your baby may not be able to speak yet, but all those little noises she makes are just as significant. Whether she’s laughing, gurgling, or just babbling away, these sounds are a clear indication of a thriving bond. Your baby learns by imitating you and will experiment with facial expressions and sounds. The more positively you react to her “babbling”, the more she will “talk” back to you. The language you and your baby share helps teach her the rhythm of conversation, and forms the basis for her future language development.
Sign – More Reaching out to You
Another sign to watch for is lots of reaching out to touch you. This gesture can mean any number of things from “give me a hug” to “come closer” to “I’m happy right now,” but in all instances it signals a deep connection. As she grows, your positive reactions help her begin to develop even more purposeful reaching for you, which shows that she is gaining awareness of her movements and body – a significant milestone in her development.
Sign – Brighter Smiles
What more clearly says “I love you” than a smile? Well, believe it or not, touching your baby can actually lead her to smile more often, which reflects the strength of your bond. As your baby grows, you’ll also notice that these first smiles will give way to smiling in response to you and in anticipation of you. All these smiles show that she is becoming more secure in her world and ready to explore and learn about her larger world as she grows.
As you can see, the bond between you and your baby has the power to nurture both of you in countless ways, and every day is an opportunity to bring the two of you even closer together. All the little every day things you love to do – the touching, gazing, and cuddling – really do strengthen that connection – and help her grow in the process. So trust your instincts and have fun with your time together, because when it comes to bonding, both you and your baby will benefit today, tomorrow, and forever.