Haptonomy, or the art of affective touchOctober 2014

Find out more about haptonomy, an increasingly popular technique that helps to build the affective relationship between the parents and their future baby. 

 

Why haptonomy?

Babies obviously make their presence felt to future mums, who feel them moving inside them during their pregnancy. But it’s not always the same for dad! It’s not necessarily easy to establish a relationship with a little person when they’re tucked away inside their mother.

One of the great advantages of haptonomy is that as a method of preparing for birth, it makes a special place for dads, helping them to avoid feeling left out during the pregnancy. Its main aim is to help the future parents establish affective communications with their unborn child, using special methods of touch.

 

What is haptonomy?

Haptonomy, based on a dialogue with your child, provides an introduction to affective touch: by caressing or stroking your belly in a particular way, you and your partner can communicate with your child. After a few sessions, you will be surprised to see your baby come and curl up in their father’s hand when he touches your belly or start to move at the sound of your voice!

Over the course of the sessions, you will also learn movements and postures that will help you to relax, carry your baby peacefully and invite them to be born once the time comes. The future father will also learn how touch can soothe you during pregnancy and when you are giving birth: by exerting gentle pressure, he will learn how to adjust your muscle tone and so help you release and relax all your muscles.

When it comes to the big day, you will both be able to play an active part in your child’s birth, gradually guiding your baby into the world, with the father soothing you with precise movements and helping you stay in touch with the baby who is about to be born.

After the birth, you will be invited to come back with your baby for a few weeks to learn movements that will help them feel secure and support them on the path to independence.

 

In practice

If you think this is a method that would appeal to you and the father, be aware that you can start sessions as soon as you feel the baby move, generally between the fourth and fifth month of pregnancy.

Sessions always involve both parents, with the support of a midwife or specialist doctor. To find a location near you, ask your maternity unit for a list of trained professionals.

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