Attachment Part 2: Incorporating meaningful touch into your child’s life

Happy Hump Day Mama! You’re halfway there..

We hope the New Year’s been treating you kindly 🙂 Today, we’re jumping right in, with Part Two of our series on the importance of physical touch in your child’s development. If you missed Part One when we discussed 25 benefits that come from positive, affirming physical touch, you can catch up here.

Today, we’re taking it a step further, and looking at what we can actually do to incorporate loving, meaningful touch into our little one’s lives.

Kangaroo Care

VIA UNITYPOINT.ORG

Kangaroo Care gets its name from its similarities to marsupial care. It involves a parent holding their swaddled newborn to their bare chest. For children born preterm or with complications, Kangaroo Care has life altering capabilities (6). In the first hour after birth, skin to skin contact is essential for babies to bond with their parents and regulate their vitals (1). This initial skin to skin time is so important in baby’s growth and development that professionals recommend building time for it into your birthing plan, postponing the normal protocol after birth of washing and weighing baby to prioritize skin to skin time (1).

Infant Massage

VIA MOM365

Infant massage is the next stage of important developmental touch after skin to skin. This type of touch is about bonding, love and respect. It’s important to be read baby’s interactions with you during this time; Trust is a key part of this activity, and it goes without saying that baby needs to trust that you’re not going to hurt them, so pay attention to the physical responses your child may be giving you; whether they are positively engaged or disengaged. Children communicate instinctively from their time they’re born, through physical responses before they can talk so it’s important that you learn to read their cues (1).

Good Nights

Creating positive associations with sleep is a vital part of your child’s development, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to build in positive touch with your little one. Goodnight hugs and kisses are quick and easy ways to increase your physical interactions and massaging their head or back while you read them a goodnight story will help them fall asleep faster and feel more connected to you.

Myth Busters: They Don’t Know What They’re Talking About…

How many times has someone (older than you, most likely) told you that you were gonna spoil your baby picking them up too much? This is one of the most common critiques of moms, most especially from well meaning (?) relatives and family friends, who know that you’re going to regret picking that baby up so much when they won’t leave you alone. Umm, what? Thank you for you concern sir, but we’re not doing that let them cry till they can’t no more, no more.

For generations, the myth that holding a baby too much will ‘spoil them’ has persisted. You’ve likey heard it before, and may have even put some stock in it. Nobody wants a ‘spoiled’ kid and technically, it’s true, they have been raising kids longer than us…

There are two parts to the baby spoiling ideology:

  • You should let your baby cry for a while
  • You’re holding them too much

“Let Them Cry”
When an infant cries, they need something. They’re not crying for your attention (they don’t even understand those concepts yet) and they’re not trying to be difficult. Babies only cry as method of meeting their needs. This means if your child is crying, they need something from you; a meal, a diaper, a measuring hug (7). When you allow your child to cry for extended periods of time, without responding to them, you being to send silent messages that their needs are not a priority, or that you may not even notice them. These messages will compound as the child grows, and one subjected to this kind of treatment for prolonged periods will begin to show effects, like struggling to create bonds with others, that will follow them into adulthood.

Sources:
1. https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2013/09/the-benefits-of-touch-for-babies-parents.html
2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/born-love/201003/touching-empathy
3. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/health/23mind.html?scp=3&sq=touch&st=cse
4. https://www.americanadoptions.com/adoption/do-orphanages-still-exist 
5. https://www.chla.org/blog/rn-remedies/cuddling-does-kids-and-parents-good 
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5683265/
7. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/features/infants-attention#1

The Fakest of Them All…

Hi there! You can call me Jas. I’m from California, and I’m raising a child that is not mine by birth. Stepmom? Not quite. Foster parent? Kinda…

I’ll get into the details of our back story a bit later, once we know each other a little more. But in a nutshell, I have guardianship of my two year old nephew, who has lived with me since just after his first birthday. It’s a jarring adjustment to bring a child into your life, and unlike conventional moms, I did not have months to prepare myself.

If motherhood is the hardest job in the world, unconventional motherhood is like doing that job with a blindfold on. Raising a child encompasses so many emotions; joy, pain, relief, anxiety, fear, power, love, loneliness. When you’re not doing it how everyone else does, all of those emotions are amplified.

And whether you agree or not that motherhood is the hardest job in the world, it is easily the most important. Without a doubt, whether we want to admit or not, the relationship that affects us more than any other relationship we will ever have, is the one we have with our mother. Moms are the foundation, the rocks, the compases, the glue, everything! And No mom, no matter the qualifier – single mom, stepmom, FAKE MOM –  should feel alone in her struggles or unsupported by her community.

And that’s what has brought me here, to Fake Mom. My friends don’t have kids, so I turned to the internet and mom bloggers for help.

There are a million Mom-Blogs out there and they’re great, but looking at a beautiful woman, her spacious home and her impeccably dressed family doesn’t really make me feel great about the fact that sometimes, I just can’t get a shower in, all weekend, no matter how hard I try. Or the fact that my baby is struggling with residual trauma and sometimes he gets so upset, I can’t console him. Or help me to understand why the lack of a ring on my finger is so triggering to strangers.

Fake Mom gets it, girl.

Just to clear the air before it gets clouded, the term FAKE MOM is something I coined to refer to myself, and is in no way meant to demean or ridicule anyone. It’s a reflection of a very personal struggle to make sense of an identity and reality that don’t always make sense together. One that I’m still adjusting to. In that struggle, as I’m sure you can relate, is where the most growth happens.

I won’t talk about myself too much on here, as it’s not meant to be a personal blog. Fake Mom isn’t about me, it’s about us. Thank you for being here.

Now that you know a little bit about me, click HERE to learn a little bit more about Fake Mom.