Did you know that 'touch' is the first sense to arrive and the last sense to leave your body?
Studies have shown that babies can react to touch when they are still in the womb, at just a few weeks old. So it makes sense that touching - cuddling, feeding, skin-to-skin - is such an important part of nuturing your baby when they first enter the world.
If you're baby is a few weeks or months old, you can try these movements to see if they exhibit a primitive reaction or 'reflex'...
1. Assymetric tonic neck reflex (or the 'fencing' reflex) - when your baby's head is facing the side, they make a 'fencing' pose, with the one arm pointing in front of the face and the other arm behind their head.
2. Rooting reflex - one you'll see in particular if you're breastfeeding. Babies instinctively turn their head to try and 'latch' on when you touch their lips or cheek.
3. Palmar and plantar grasp reflex - if you press into the palm of your baby's hand or the ball of their foot, you'll see the fingers or toes curl up into a grasp. This can make some strokes of baby massage particularly difficult!
4. Moro (or 'startle') reflex - when your baby is tilting or falling backwards, they extend both arms in front of them as if to grab something to stop them falling.
If you want to learn more about your baby's behaviour and the importance of 'touch', register for a baby massage course in South London here.