With a little knowledge and a lot of love, you can raise a calm, contented child who can calm himself. Numerous studies have shown that positive touch, especially slow caresses and gentle strokes, helps babies feel safe and comfortable by lowering cortisol, the stress hormone, and stimulating the release of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone that calms and promotes bonding.
“It’s important to have a lot of physical contact in the early months,” says Dr. Gartstein. “Watch what your baby likes and dislikes, and then follow her lead.” Skin-to-skin contact is built into breastfeeding. If you are bottle feeding, you can pull up your shirt and place your baby’s naked body against your stomach while feeding.
While bathing, gently massage her scalp, tummy, arms, legs, palms, and feet if she likes it. And whenever your Munchkin coos and reaches out for your touch, don’t hesitate to hug and kiss. Bonus: Those sweet hugs also stimulate the “feel good” neurotransmitters in the parents.