Die Bedeutung liebevoller Berührung von Anfang an

The importance of loving touch from the beginning

The well-known anthropologist Dr. Ashley Montagu wrote: "Man cannot live without touch. It is one of the basic human needs."
It is indeed. Touch is vital! More than that: massage and loving touches help your baby thrive.

“We need 4 hugs a day to survive, 8 hugs a day to feel good and 12 hugs a day to grow internally.” (Therapist Virginia Satir)

This is how the sense of touch develops

Did you know? The sense of touch (tactile perception) is the first of all senses, which develops in the womb during embryonic development and remains until the last breath.

  • As early as the 5th week of pregnancy, the embryo perceives touch on the lips.
  • From the 8th week of pregnancy, the embryo reacts to gentle touches, and from the 12th week of pregnancy, the embryo reacts to gentle touches all over its body.
  • From the 13th week of pregnancy , the unborn child develops such a good feeling for its body that it associates the thumb with the mouth. It is no coincidence that the feeling in the lips and mouth develops so early. By sucking on the finger, your baby experiences a positive association even before birth. Your baby is already "practicing". After birth, the sucking reflex is very helpful for drinking and cuddling at mom's breast.

Touch is bonding. Touch is love.

The wonderful thing about us humans is that we can consciously form bonds at any age, and this is not just due to biological reasons. Ideally, this bonding process begins during your pregnancy, and we parents welcome the new arrival gently, calmly and with all-encompassing love.

However, certain factors and situations can hinder early bonding: a difficult birth, rape, disability, domestic violence. Unfortunately, as a baby massage instructor, I have no influence on such things. However, through my courses, I can help to restart and strengthen the bonding process despite these situations.

The parent-child bond is strengthened in a wonderful way through loving touch. The intimate contact during the massage makes your baby feel loved and secure. Even the unborn child actively seeks contact with its surroundings. There are ultrasound images that show how babies "play" with the umbilical cord or cuddle up to the placenta. Twins have been observed nudging each other and touching each other with their hands. We humans are clearly not made to be alone. Your baby also feels when you or dad put your hand on the belly or massage the belly during pregnancy.

The importance of oxytocin

Skin-to-skin contact releases the bonding hormone oxytocin (also known as the cuddle hormone). This counteracts the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. This makes a hug and every loving touch wonderfully relaxing - not just for the person receiving the massage, but also for the person giving it. Most pregnant women are very happy to have their partner give them a soothing foot or back massage or even a special professional massage for expectant mothers. What is the best way to relax?

The hormone oxytocin also plays a major role in the birth process . Dimmed lights, the presence of a trusted person and a positive atmosphere during birth can help to stimulate oxytocin production. Every woman should give birth in her own way, exactly as she wants. Fear-free, self-determined and in connection with her child from the very beginning.

By the way: The release of the bonding hormone oxytocin reaches its peak during birth when the baby's head passes through . And not just in the mother's body, but also in that of the baby. Mothers often describe this feeling as being "high", as a real rush of happiness at finally holding their baby in their arms. Fascinating, isn't it?

Calm down. Switch off. Relax. Recharge your batteries. Simply enjoy being a mum. So important in our fast-paced times, and especially in your first time as a mum. As we all know, everyday life is also a time full of new challenges and tasks. Take a few minutes every day of exclusive time with your baby . Without a cell phone or other activities/distractions.

Tips for baby massage

Baby massage

The first massage techniques can be used just a few days after birth . The whole body can be massaged after the navel has healed. Have a professional show you how to do a tummy massage/colic massage for your baby. If used regularly, the massage can help your baby relieve tummy ache and flatulence. The massage stimulates all of your baby's body functions and metabolism.

The younger your baby, the shorter the massage time. Start with 2-3 minutes and increase as your baby gets older.

TIP 1 : The ideal age for a baby massage course is up to crawling age. There you can also exchange ideas with other mothers and ask questions that concern you. The loving and regular touch provided by baby massage offers a variety of other advantages:

First and foremost, there is this good news: babies and children (and adults too) who are massaged regularly are more relaxed, find it easier to calm down and sleep better. Baby massage relieves physical and sometimes mental tension.

TIP 2: Accompany your baby's tension-relieving crying, don't divert it. Everything can "come out" - this is important for the subsequent happy, relaxed play and restful sleep. Deep, restful sleep phases are very important for the healthy development of your baby. Physical and mental regeneration takes place in the (deep sleep) phases. As a mother of three children, these issues - including sleep deprivation and its consequences - are all too familiar to me.

TIP 3: Introduce the massage as a ritual, for example in the evening after bathing. Rituals, the reliably recurring sequences of massage movements, give your baby a sense of security and safety. Your baby will enjoy the pleasant and relaxing effect and look forward to it again. You can perform the following ritual before the massage: Rub the massage oil in front of your baby and show him your hands and palms. At the same time, ask: "Would you like a massage? Should we massage your legs?" or something similar.
Try it out. You will soon be able to recognize when the time is right for a massage. You are the expert on your baby, and if you observe it, it will show you through its non-verbal communication with you, its body language, whether it is ready for a massage. With the "rubbing oil in your hands" ritual, you ask your baby for permission to massage it beforehand. This is a very respectful and appreciative way of touching your child.
Massage and touch also promote your baby’s body awareness.
Regular massage stimulates blood circulation and the lymphatic system, promotes muscle growth, harmonizes muscle tone and supports neuronal development. Certain facial massage techniques also relieve your baby's discomfort during teething and colds.

TIP 4: Daily massage of your baby is a great way to convey positive images and verbal messages. When you massage your baby, imagine how he or she relaxes and opens up. See him or her happy and healthy! Praise your baby when he or she relaxes and enjoy and admire his or her smile and soft baby skin. This will help your baby to develop a positive self-image.
Baby massage makes moms, dads and babies happy!


“The greatest gift someone can give me is to see me and hear me, to understand me and to touch me.” (Virginia Satir)

About the author:

Karin Schranz-Klippl

Karin Schranz-Klippl: presenter, educator, author, holistic health coach, course leader for baby massage and baby yoga and mother of three children. www.wunschtraummuschel.at

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

  • Top 10 Geschenke für Schwangere

    Top 10 gifts for pregnant women

    The anticipation of the baby is growing and the search for the perfect gift for the expectant mother begins? Don't worry, we have put together the ultimate list of 10...

    Top 10 gifts for pregnant women

    The anticipation of the baby is growing and the search for the perfect gift for the expectant mother begins? Don't worry, we have put together the ultimate list of 10...

  • Die besten Schwangerschafts-Apps 2024

    The best pregnancy apps 2024

    Pregnancy guides, information brochures from your gynecologist and advice from other mom friends are a good source of information for pregnancy. If you would like mobile and interactive support during...

    The best pregnancy apps 2024

    Pregnancy guides, information brochures from your gynecologist and advice from other mom friends are a good source of information for pregnancy. If you would like mobile and interactive support during...

  • Ordnung im Mamialltag - Mit diesen Ordnungstipps bist du gut vorbereitet

    Order in everyday mom life - with these organiz...

    The anticipation is great, the nursery is planned and prepared with lots of love. And then everything happens very quickly. The baby is here and the time to worry about...

    Order in everyday mom life - with these organiz...

    The anticipation is great, the nursery is planned and prepared with lots of love. And then everything happens very quickly. The baby is here and the time to worry about...

1 of 3