16th Apr 2022

Newborn Baby Self-soothing for Better Sleep and Development

Self-touch or self-contact is an important way to settle or soothe one's self.

Newborn babies are born with an ultra-sensitive sense of touch. Through every touch, they learn about their bodies, their surroundings, and human connection.⁣

Your baby’s sense of touch begins to develop as early as 7 weeks in the womb. By 11 weeks your baby is already making tiny movements in the womb as she explores the womb environment and her own body. ⁣

By the third trimester, your baby will engage in lots of self-touch activities, which not only helps her understand her own body and the environment but it also forms a basis for her self-soothing behaviours.⁣

After birth, babies continue to learn through touch; their sense of touch will continue to develop during the first year and beyond.⁣

Touch helps babies communicate their needs, interact with others and the environment, and learn about their own body and to self-soothe. The younger the baby, the more touch is important for self-settling or self-soothing.

Self-settling or self-soothing behaviour may involve self-generated touches to the mouth, face, and the mid-line of the body, such as:

  • Holding hands together at the mid-line
  • Touching stomach or chest
  • Sucking hands, fingers, or thumb
  • Touching ears or nose
  • Rubbing eyes, a lip or hair

Self-touching behaviour is an important developmental phase that allows the coordination of the Reach and the Grasp and concurrent with their use under visual guidance.

It also contributes to the emerging sense of self – a baby being able to distinguish itself from other objects.

When the baby brings his hands together and touches his fingers, touches his own body and face, he can experience touching and being touched simultaneously, which helps lead to a distinction between the self and the non-self, between the body and what is not part of the body.

Parents can nurture this development by holding baby skin-to-skin, giving a massage, gently exposing babies to variety of tactile objects, and swaddling baby with arms free to move, in the fetal flex position.

The FX (Fetal Flex) swaddle is the only swaddle that positions your baby's arms in the naturally preferred womb-like position while still suppressing the Startle (Moro) reflex – promoting SELF-SOOTHING and better development – providing optimal comfort and feeling of security. Top-Rated by Aussie mums and dads, the FX Swaddle helps your baby settle faster and sleep longer.

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