feediq icon

The importance of touch and holding for your child’s brain development


Human touch has a significant impact on our lives. During the lifespan, humans use touch to interact with others, exhibit affection, seek support, and develop relationships. Feeling the power of touch begins before a baby is even born. Research has shown that touch is one of the first senses to develop, which begins by 8 weeks of pregnancy. Your baby in the womb is able to respond to the sensation of touch and even when your baby is born he/she uses their own touch and the touch of others to help pacify them when they enter new environments.1

Your baby needs close physical contact for proper growth and development just as they need food to grow and develop. Each time you touch your baby, new connections are made in your baby’s brain. Touch is also an important nutrient for both the brain and the body.1,2 All forms of touch have positive influence but skin-to-skin contact, especially with mothers, is predominantly powerful.3

Following are a few tips to stimulate your child’s brain through touch.

  1. Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres. THE POWER OF HUMAN TOUCH FOR BABIES. Available from: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/50056474c4aa4387b4e629ea/t/5719260ac2ea517c03d5d582/1461265930827/The_Power_of_Human_Touch_for_Babies.pdf. Accessed on 22nd June 2017.
  2. Stimulation during the first year of life. Available from: http://parenting-ed.org/handouts/stimulation.pdf. As accessed on 15 June 2017.
  3. Building Baby’s Intelligence: Why Infant Stimulation Is So Important. Available from: http://cchp.ucsf.edu/sites/cchp.ucsf.edu/files/buildbabyinten081803_adr.pdf. As accessed on 15 June 2017.