Touch is as necessary to the human baby as food. You don't need special skills or talents to massage your baby, but ensuring your baby is getting enough skin-to-skin contact is important.
The most profound and heartbreaking documented examples of the need for touch took place in child-care institutions in Europe and the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Due to the lack of adequate child care and attempts to keep children germ-free, institutionalised children received very little hands-on care. Even though they were given proper food and medical care, many of them became sick. Many of these children cried for long periods of time, eventually became despondent and depressed, refused to eat, and ultimately died. Until then, they started incorporate physical contact with children under hospital care, the mortality rate dropped from 30 percent to 10 percent.
In the moment conveniences that we find so helpful, such as strollers and portable car seats, actually we have reduce the amount of time we spend holding and touching our children. Of course we are not advocating to abolish these handy items but we recommend is that you use them less and use them more thoughtfully. If your road trip takes four hours, that means for four hours, your child would be largely deprived of touch touch, stimulation and socialisation.
Instead of keeping your child cooped up in a baby seat, try the following:
a. hold your child
b. let your child sit on your lap
c. rock together in a chair
d. carry your child
e. use a baby carrier or sling
f. put a blanket on the floor and give your child floor time or tummy time
g. let your child play with safe toys and books in his/her crib
Reducing your child's stress is important because energy that is wasted on stress responses is energy your child doesn't have available for other important functions like eating or learning.