Bonding Time: By Linda Storm ith the holidays approaching, you are probably making a list of the gifts you want to give, as well as a list of all the things that need to get done A gift for you and your baby you have become by slowing down and massaging him. Don’t be surprised if he sleeps better and you do, too. What is wonderful about taking these moments to connect with your baby during the busiest time of the year is that your baby will feel important and worthy of your time and attention. The huge benefit from this is that you are wiring your baby’s brain to give her the best start in life. So while you are making your list of gifts and adding to your “to do” list, remember the gift that will last a lifetime: a few special moments alone with your baby. To learn more about Infant Massage, please visit Linda Storm was the founding Executive Director of Infant Massage USA®. She is a Certified Educator of Infant Massage (CEIM), an International Association of Infant Massage Trainer and is Certified in Infant Parent Mental Health. Linda has worked with parents and babies for over 25 years and has trained over 1,000 educators across the United States and from Korea to London. She is passionate about expanding the work of nurturing touch between parents and their babies. W during the holiday season. While you make your lists, don’t forget to add some quiet time for you and your baby. This time spent together is a gift that will last a lifetime. Babies don’t need a lot of activities and things. All they need is you. As your baby looks at your face, she sees your smile and feels your love. This forms millions of connections in her brain. During these quiet moments together of holding and stroking your baby, hormones and endorphins are released that help her relax and be more calm. Your baby loves to enjoy time looking at you eye-to-eye or feeling your touch on her skin. These interactions stimulate hormones and endorphins that help both you and your baby relax, relieve physical discomforts, and promote healthy growth, development, and bonding. Give yourself the enjoyment of spending a few extra moments together during diaper changes or after a bath as you massage on some lotion or just take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. These precious, quiet moments are times you won’t get back, and they are important for your baby’s brain development. Research has shown since the 1980s that touching babies through massage benefits their physical and emotional development as well as their brain structure and function, which maintain their effects throughout life. These special times of bonding take just a few moments. When changing your baby’s diaper, you can stroke his tummy or legs. You can sing a little rhyme as you touch each of your baby’s toes or play patty-cake. During bath time, massage his back as you soap him down. Stroke his body to help his muscles relax. Before getting dressed for bed, apply oil or lotion to your baby’s skin. Notice how his face and body begin to relax. You might even notice how much more relaxed 2013 • Issue 6 Piedmont Family Magazine 5