Our senses are important because they channel the information we receive from the world. Some of our senses are more acute than others.
Which is your strongest sense and which needs a boost? Babies recognise a mother’s voice, are comforted by her smell and benefit from being skin to skin. They express their needs by crying and once we learn to read their nuanced signals better we can see they are grateful to be understood.
Look your baby in the eye to get to know your child a little more every day so that your son or daughter feels confident from an early age they are a valued priority in their parents’ lives. Much is said about the importance of bonding but we don’t really understand how and why it can be beneficial.
At school we learn to say “I think” or “I know” but not so much “I feel”. Getting back in touch with forgotten emotions helps mothers become conscious of the kind of love that is able to interpret for their child situations that crop up in this world; situations that affect us all but that nobody is individually to blame for. All this builds trust.
There is something beautiful about sexuality but there is also the opposite. When beautiful it is an expression of love that cements a relationship. Its ugly side has corrupted many people’s minds. When you start a relationship you wear your heart on your sleeve and reach out to the heart of the other person to find sensory pleasure. Conception as the fruit of a loving relationship is a gift to the baby on the way.
Tenderness has the power to heal.
“skin to skin”
From the moment they are born babies seek to be skin-to-skin with their mother, to smell and be nourished by her.
Share senses to return to the closeness you had with your baby before birth.
Listen to your baby’s cries and work out what is happening to it.
Being skin-to-skin with both mum and dad brings warmth, a familiar heartbeat. What is more the smell of a parent will comfort a new-born.
A familiar, gentle voice relaxes and reassures your baby, senses are conducive to happiness.
“haptonomy, essential intentionality”
This technique appeals to me because it goes beyond the body’s boundaries in an effort to contact other people. Intentional touch is used during pregnancy to create a bond between mother, father and baby. To do this parents are encouraged to touch the mother’s belly and thus stimulate the baby, encouraging your future son or daughter to raise their tiny hand, connect and even maybe move almost like the sequence of a dance. This way of accompanying not only nurtures increased bonding, but also a correct positioning of the baby at the time of birth.
I believe that all senses benefit from being able to receive this input of affection. Through touch, the person being caressed feels a sensation, an emotion, a feeling that the caresser also feels. Parenting is a sensual gesture that the child enjoys. The reciprocity of this gesture and its consequences are the inspiration behind this project. From the moment a baby is conceived, it is possible to bond and once born touch creates a lasting bond right until the child’s parents reach old age.
If a mother perceives her womb as a welcoming space, she may want to express her feelings through song. Even if during the first months of pregnancy the baby is not yet able to hear, singing will travel from the mother’s voice through her whole body and touch the baby’s skin.
Singing creates sound vibrations that bring harmony to the baby and can be remembered as a massage. A song listened to repeatedly in the womb can trigger peaceful memories in your son or daughter once they are born. It is an activity that can also be shared with other mothers-to-be creating a musical connection with your child, and with the children of other mothers who gather in a group. If you deepen your understanding of what your voice can do you may want to use it in labour to soothe and accompany the birth. Music brings out emotions and can help mothers prepare for labour.
In the old days, grandmothers used to sing lullabies to put babies to sleep, and I have met mothers who still sing them. They sing tender and sweet songs, a reflection of the perfect world the little ones need to perceive.
Placing your hand on the expectant mother’s belly to connect with her baby provides comfort. When the baby is born, this form of massage-like touch will have passed on the message that you care for and have shared your energy with your child.
When in the womb the baby is already exploring and getting to know its body, even sucking its thumb!
Skin-to-skin contact after birth fosters the baby’s development. According to David Chamberlain, children need to be stroked, caressed and squeezed tight because these stimuli promote brain development.
He adds that findings have shown that gentle, ritualistic massage helps premature babies gain weight and a feeling of safety. I have seen a woman who specialises in giving a very gentle massage to a baby under warm running water, and it seemed to me that my children would have greatly benefited from something like that. As your child slowly grows, hold its hand to provide some of the warmth that a child needs to feel secure.
Many people associate water with well being. Like all humans, babies are mainly water and in the womb are surrounded by amniotic fluid.
Some people such as Jacques Mayol, a fish-man and water lover advocate aquatic techniques. He has assisted dolphin-accompanied births in the sea, an exciting experience that undoubtedly connected mother and baby to their life on land. The world that we come into is magnificent in its immensity and sometimes allows glorious moments. Childbirth is one of them.
My husband and one of my sons need to surf the waves to feel alive and at one with the ocean. It makes them happy and able to experience a special moment.
Some people feel water renews them and swim every day in the summer; maybe they would be happiest with a water birth that could help them cope with pain.
There are hospitals with pools that facilitate many a mother’s wish to give birth in water.
Water (best when warm) soothes, cleanses in many different ways and can alleviate.
Frederic Leboyer recommended a bath with dim light immediately after birth in silence to remind the baby of its intrauterine environment.