Stroking babies’ forearms with a soft paintbrush at a rate of about 3cm per second slowed infants’ heart rates better than a quicker pace (30 cm per second) or slower pace (.3 cm per second), says a study published in Psychological Science.
They also found that when stroking babies’ arms at the medium velocity—the one that had the greatest effect on heart rate—infants spent the most time looking at the paintbrush, indicating more engagement. Researchers think this could translate to a stronger connection with your baby. (You know, once you replace the paintbrush with your gentle touch.)
dont't worry—there's no need to time yourself as you caress your baby. Here are some more ways to use the power of touch to soothe, excite, and bond with your little one, courtesy of Suzanne Reese, certified infant massage instructor and author of Baby Massage: Soothing Strokes for Healthy Growth.
Time it right
Calm a fussy baby