Babies just might be the most huggable and kissable things on the planet, are we right? Chances are that you’re regularly showering yours with love and snuggles. But, for some moms, such outward and physical signs of affection may not come as naturally. Today we’re sharing a few scientific benefits of hugging and kissing your baby—for their sake, as well as yours!
Human touch is critical for both physical and mental growth
Did you know that something as simple as hugging your baby actually helps them to grow? That’s right: human touch is essential in providing stimulation that fosters a healthy brain and body.
Research has shown that, in cases where babies received minimal human touch (in certain orphanages, for instance), the children’s’ cognitive and motor-skill development was impaired.
Amazingly enough, the same goes for physical growth. Babies who are deprived of loving touch can suffer from a “failure to thrive,” and their growth can be stunted accordingly.
Oxytocin is good for baby and parent
When we hug or otherwise bond with a loved one, a hormone called oxytocin is released. This “feel-good” hormone is one factor in the stimulation of children’s physical growth as discussed above.
It can also help your child feel better when they are dealing with physical and/or emotional pain. As noted by Kinder Care in their article on Snuggle Science, “Cuddling with babies and children who are teething can cut down on irritability by making them less stressed and releasing brain chemicals to reduce inflammation and heal faster.”
And, recent research on how Infants Show Physiological Responses Specific to Parental Hugs observed a relaxation in the heart rate of infants as young as four months old when a parent or primary caregiver hugged them.
Notes author of the research Sachine Yoshida, “Parents also showed [improved heartbeat intervals] by hugging their infants…both infants and parents come to relax by hugging.”
So, yes, oxytocin is good for parents too! Higher levels of the hormone have also been correlated with lower blood pressure. In other words, hugs make everyone—no matter their age—feel better!
Cuddling with baby builds immunity
Naturally, good health boost immunity. And, skin-to-skin contact offers yet another powerful way to help baby stay well. As explained by Active Babies Smart Kids, “That irresistible urge to plant kisses all over your baby [helps] to boost her immune system. When you kiss your baby, you are sampling the pathogens on her skin, which are then transferred to your lymphatic system where you will produce antibodies to any bugs. These antibodies will then pass through your breast milk to your baby and boost her immune system.” Pretty magical and great, eh?
May your days be filled with all kinds of baby hugs and snuggles—especially when either you or your child is upset, scared, feeling pain, or otherwise irritable. Hugs and kisses strengthen the parent-child bond as well as your child’s critical physical, mental, and emotional development. To celebrate hugs and kisses all year long (and serve as a reminder to give one more smooch) check out our XOXO bodysuit and XOXO pajamas.
Valentines Day is a great day to celebrate your love for baby. Check out our Valentines Day Baby Collection!