To help answer some age-old questions, a large body of fairly new research shows conclusively that babies are able to feel pain. In fact, the pre-born fetus can feel pain very early in the gestation process. Newborn babies can also distinguish between hot and cold. Try an experiment with your newborn by touching his cheek with your warm hand or finger. Notice how baby uses the “rooting” reflex to turn his head in the direction of your warm hand. Now hold an ice cube for a few seconds to get your fingers cold and repeat touching baby’s cheek with your cold finger, baby will turn his head away from you.
Of all of the senses, touch is more interconnected with emotional growth and well-being, physical growth, cognitive potential, social growth and even the body’s immune functions. New studies show that infant massage can be very beneficial to brain development in newborns whether full term or premature. Always check with your baby’s doctor prior to doing any infant massage. This link, at parenthood.com, describes and shows a short video of how to give your baby an infant massage.