Cuddling Often is Healthy for Your Baby
It’s science, cuddling your babies changes their DNA - for the better.
Studies multifold have proven that cuddles are good for newborns. That’s why so many parents practice skin-to-skin contact in the initial days. But recent studies show that cuddles affect babies at an even deeper level than we thought. Cuddling your baby is not only enjoyable but also strengthens the emotional bond between the parent and the baby.
Research has found that kids who get fewer hugs are generally more distressed in infanthood. This carries broad implications for their health, especially their psychological development, underscoring the importance of providing physical contact, especially for distressed infants.
Cuddling is an important tool in a parent’s toolbox and its benefits go far beyond a warm touch or the fuzzy feeling of love and warmth. Here’s how cuddling often can benefit your baby:
1. It releases happy hormones
Touch is one of the first senses that a newborn develops. Early skin-to-skin contact not only stimulates the baby’s brain but also makes them happier. Physical touch triggers the happy hormone, oxytocin in our brains. This is important for both mother as well as baby as it helps strengthen the emotional bond between them. Taking time to hug your baby can change your mood and can increase the affection between you and him or her. Babies who are cuddled often by their parents are less likely to go through any mental illness or psychological issues later in life.
2. It teaches children whom to trust
Common behaviour observed among kids who did not receive enough loving physical touch in their early years is “indiscriminate friendliness”. They become super-friendly and trust almost any adult without realising that they are not “their adults.” Babies who are cuddled often tend to get attached and form a bond that helps them differentiate between a stranger and a known. If you give your baby the physical affection that they crave, you automatically put yourself in their “familiar” list. In the absence of frequent physical touch, babies can have suspicious feelings that they are being cuddled by a stranger even when they are being touched by their loved ones. This is why it’s important to make physical touch the norm.
3. Known to calm down babies
A little bit of skin-to-skin contact can have a calming effect on babies and can be as calming for the mother as well. Research suggests that cuddling can reduce stress hormones and lower the heart rate, thereby effectively calming the babies when they are upset. So, snuggle your baby as much as you want, it just might be the best thing to calm them down and yourself in the process.
4. It communicates love
While adults are able to determine positive communication and signals, babies are not. A hug or a cuddle shouts: “come to me, I care for you”. A cuddle communicates love and tells the baby that you are there for them, no matter what. When you look into your baby’s eyes, smile at them, give them attention and show them physical affection, they feel loved and cared for.
5. It’s therapy
Cuddling is considered as an important therapy for strong, satisfying relationships, both in terms of science and psychology. It is held that cuddling your baby results in many benefits including greater health. A number of researchers have concluded that cuddled children are most likely to grow healthy, kind, vicarious, active and less depressed. Cuddling a baby acts as a natural remedy for the mother as well who goes through a lot of mental and physical fatigue after giving birth to a baby.
Overall, cuddling plays an important role in the development and recovery of both the mother and the baby. Plus, babies are sweet to cuddle. So, cuddle your babies a lot while they are still squishy, soft and cuddly. Not that they ever grow out of that, in the eyes of a mamma!