Hug and Kiss Therapy

Many infants and young children have had procedure upon procedure in their mouth and around their faces. With those early NICU experiences, ventilators, tubes put in and tubes taken out, many infants are much more sensitive about being touched around the face. Older children who have had Nasogastric (NG) tubes put in and taken out many times may continue the cautiousness even longer. To protect themselves from more procedures that they fear will be uncomfortable, scary or painful, they may push everything away from their face…..even you……….even your touch. Your child may be very serious about this “protection” …..for him it may feel like”survival”.

To help rebuild that loving trust, how about doing lots of tender hugging and kissing? Your child may need to learn that touches around the face can be enjoyable again, and what better way to show them that than with your loving touch!? Initially many infants may actually pull or push away when you approach their face, or turn their eyes from you. Some young children who are sensitive learn to handle kisses best if there is a loving sustained whole body hug before the delicate kisses! Once your child has snuggled comfortably into your hug, kisses may be easier to accept. Sometimes you may need to start the kissing away from the face, like on the hand or tummy and work your kisses up the arm toward the cheeks. Watch your child’s response carefully as you kiss as close to the face or mouth as your child feels comfortable. Little by little your infant may let you know kissing the cheek is okay.

Gradually your child can learn to trust that when you approach the face, it will be pleasant and comfortable and, most of all, safe. Your child will learn to relax the walls of protection that had been built up ….and may lean right into you and snuggle into your “kiss therapy”. Your child may prefer firm kisses or delicate kisses or quick ones or longer ones. Follow your child’s lead! Enjoy hugging and kissing your baby!! Remember to involve the whole family….brothers and sisters love hugging and kissing the baby, too!

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