Skin to skin

Having recently had a baby I’ve become increasingly conscious of the importance (for psychological development) of skin to skin contact between parent and child. There’s also a lot of talk about the benefits of ‘baby wearing’ amongst new parents. We wear our daughter in a sling, and she is amazing; incredibly social, very alert, and insatiably curious. She looks people in the eye and explores the world, not from a passive knee-high perspective, but from a height and position that allows her to explore the world that awaits her ‘on a level’. It’s fascinating, but also so very obvious… personal and practical – we just need to look to the beautiful, wholly natural, and sophisticated relationships that exist between our forefathers, by which I mean primates, for a precedent.

A friend of mine, a brilliant photographer and inspirational man, Andrew Walmsley recently spent time in Sumatra photographing orangutans in their natural (threatened) environment. Andrew and I met for a cuppa and a catch up upon his return and, whilst gazing at my newborn baby, he talked about how blind it is of people to comment on how similar primates are to humans, when actually it’s the other way round – we are them, not vice versa!

My brother is 12.5 years older than me, and Mum and Dad have mentioned several times how interesting it was when I was born that all of his friends were captivated by “my tiny little hands, fingers and toes.” I love the way my daughter grasps me. I’m addicted to her soft, little, callousless hands. I can’t stop kissing them. It was interesting, then, to happen across this programme on BBC Radio 4 this week – Al Kennedy: Holding Hands.

Let’s all hold hands and feel better for it!