Remember the time when the doctor gives your newborn to you just so you can cocoon the little one closer to yourself? That’s the moment of warmth where you lay your eyes upon your bundle of joy. Then onwards, both your husband and you would have not been able to resist getting snuggly and cuddly with your bubs.
(Image credit to The Today Show)
We don’t blame you! Besides being fuzzy and warm with your baby, cuddling is now a major research topic among scholars and recent studies proved that cuddling has amazing benefits on babies. Hence, it is safe to say that cuddling your babies is a science-backed pamper session you can have with your baby without worries.
However, do you know the amazing benefits of cuddling your babies? Don’t be alarmed, as we have scoured reliable websites and research papers to list you the advantages of hugging and kissing your babies.
#1 Cuddling eases pain
It’s a natural instinct for children to raise their hands, as a gesture of asking to be carried when they are hurt. Similarly, babies cry as a means to be carried and comforted by their parents. Recent research by the University of Oxford and Liverpool John Moores University on 32 babies had proved that gentle strokes on babies act as pain relief.
It is found that gentle strokes on your cherubs reduce the activity in their brain that is associated with painful experiences. Hence why, Professor Slate said, “If we can better understand the neurobiological underpinnings of techniques like infant massage, we can improve the advice we give to parents on how to comfort their babies.”
#2 Enables eye contact
Dear parents, here’s a fun fact; the last sense to be fully formed is the eyesight. At birth, a baby can only focus on things that are within a radius of 25 cm. Ironically, it’s the perfect distance from your face to their eyes when you are holding them.
(Image credit to The Hans India)
Remember, eye contact is vital for your little bubs as studies have shown that it plays a major role in their brain development and bonding. By simply cuddling and gazing into their eyes, would work magic on their cognitive system where parents’ direct gaze allows babies to associate and learn in the process.
#3 Cuddling leads to bonding
What is the relationship between oxytocin and cuddling? Trust us when we say that this is one of the amazing benefits of cuddling your babies. When parents cuddle their tiny tots, both the parents and babies release a hormone called oxytocin, or more commonly known as the love-cuddle hormone. The oxytocin hormone is tightly bound to parenthood!
(Image credit to Baby Chick)
From the moment you hug your little one, the love hormones are released by both of you in masses, and through that, both of you build trust, love, and attachment between one another. This, in turn, promotes healthy parent-baby bonding simultaneously, gives your baby and you an intimate cuddle session.
#4 Helps with breastfeeding
Yes! Kissing and snuggling your bubs helps with breastfeeding too. Mums who carry their babies often can gain two huge breastfeeding benefits; can breastfeed for a longer time and breastfeed easily in a frequent manner. This may seem insignificant at first, but we all know the wonders of breastfeeding for mothers and babies.
(Image credit to Maternity)
Cuddling your baby closer to your chest allows both of you to be familiar with latching, positioning, and relaxing and the experience can be traded during breastfeeding. Therefore, the more you cuddle, the better your breastfeeding journey becomes.
#5 Builds a happy brain
Of our five senses, touch is the foremost sense to develop, and for babies, it’s an essential sense that has to be stimulated. Remember skin-to-skin contact? Hugs, kisses, physical touches (of course the welcoming gestures) and cuddling, acts as stimulants that help babies to navigate the world.
(Image credit to Johnson & Johnson)
In a 2017 research, analyzing neurological outcome patterns in babies found that gentle touch stimulated their brains and receptiveness towards the environment. In short, cuddling as a sense of touch builds our little ones’ emotional benefits, nervous system regulation, and cognitive development. Nurturing touch is the positive reinforcement that is needed for our bubs for a happy brain.
#6 Keeps away temper tantrums
Myth: Hugging while babies are throwing tantrums can aggravate it more since you are spoiling them. The truth is, hugging is the ultimate calming tool that parents can use when babies are moody. Babies have emotional tantrums as a response to something in their surroundings that dissatisfied them. Parents have to understand that babies are not trying to ruin their days.
(Image credit to Happy You, Happy Family)
Instead, babies are just little people who have not learned to self-regulate their tempers and emotions. Hence, hugging or cuddling them during their emotional outbursts act as a gesture of support babies receive from parents. Little ones would feel relaxed and supported since the oxytocin released dips their anxiety and frustration to the lowest level. This is even proved in a research study done in the year 2020.
#7 Help toddlers build resilience
Babies can have stressful moments too! We call it tantrums but for them, it’s stress, and not doing anything to ward off their stress could severely damage their physical and mental health. During babies’ distress, a high level of cortisol is secreted throughout the body, especially to the brain. However, cuddling your baby during their emotional breakdown helps the munchkins to feel calm and relaxed.
(Image credit to Baby Center)
Here, the little one learns how to self-regulate through momma’s and papa’s hugs and kisses! This significant early life experience is how little humans learn to build self-regulation skills and resilience. As to how Karen Stephens writes, snuggling babies during their moments in need gives them a sense of assurance and from there, they grow up to be resilient adults who would have confidence in facing life.
#8 Might change babies genes
Dear parents, do you know what is epigenome? It is a system that controls access to the body’s genes and tells the human genome what to do. As interesting as it may sound, here’s another interesting science. A 2017 preliminary research has found that cuddling babies have the ability to change their epigenome.
(Image credit to The Mirror)
The research on 100 babies showed researchers that babies who got snuggled more had shown significant, epigenetic changes in their DNA. This is definitely, one of the most amazing benefits of cuddling your babies.
Hugging, kissing, and getting snuggly with your tiny tots are very vital tactile gestures that complement a baby’s life. The majority of child experts, researchers, and caregivers give a thumbs up to cuddling as one of the best practices that have to be made habitual by parents as their parenting tactics. With all the researches and science behind cuddling, now you can start to snuggle up with your munchkin no matter the time and tide.
(Image credit to Raising Children)
Source – This article was written by HappyPreggie, published on February, 2022. Read the original article.