Hugging is one beautiful act that is understood across all cultures and languages. No matter how old you are or what situation you find yourself in, a hug just makes you feel good instantly. This is largely due to hugs being able to initiate the release of “happy hormones”, serotonin and endorphin, which in turn lowers stress and blood pressure levels.
Beyond science, the power of a hug can be attested to by its billions of recipients (and even those who give them) everyday. And some of the most powerful hugs of all, are those between mother and child.
Read on to learn about the many wonderful benefits of a mother’s hug for babies. Trust us, you’ll want to cuddle up with your little one a little more.
1. Hugging makes babies feel safe.
“It helps your baby develop a secure attachment to you,” says Dr. Stephanie Marcy of the Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles. Hugging and close contact with the mother is important most especially during the first three months of a baby’s life. This period, sometimes called the fourth trimester, is when a baby adjusts to the outside world.
Prior to his birth, the baby spent 9 months in a dark, secure, warm, place and hugging helps ease the baby into life in the outside world. “The bond developed has effects later in your child’s life in terms of self-confidence, healthy individuation and exploration, expression of empathy, social relationships and ability to cope with life stressors” Marcy explains.
2. Reduces the mother’s risk of developing post-natal depression
Hugging and physical contact facilitate the release of oxytocin according to an article for Scientific American. This has important benefits for the mommy. “It reduces their stress level—they report lower levels of depression, they seem to be able to be more sensitive to their baby’s cues and the babies are more responsive to the mother through the whole first three months, ”says Professor Anne Begelow of St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
3. Physical touch speeds up weight gain in pre-mature babies.
A study by Dr. Tiffany Field Director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami found that physical contact like hugging, cuddling, or massage can speed up weight gain in pre-term infants. In the study, those whose care were augmented with “touch therapy” done three times a day for 5-6 days recorded a 31% to 47% greater weight gain and thus were discharged from the hospital earlier.
Read more benefits of hugging your little one on the next page.
4. Hugging helps babies deal with aches and pains and speeds up healing.
The next time your little one wails in pain because of a tooth erupting, give him a nice warm hug. According to the US National Institute of Health both the baby and the mommy produce high levels of oxytocin while hugging and this in turn increases their tolerance for pain.
Hugging can even speed up healing because hugging produces hormones that allow for immune cells to thrive (immune cells are known to kill bacteria and viruses). So there is truth in kissing and hugging a baby’s boo boos away after all.
5. Infants who get a lot of hugging and touching from their mothers grow up to be calmer and more resilient.
According to an article for The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, various researches have found that physical contact during infancy have long term effects. Babies who received a lot of cuddling, touching, and hugging from mothers grew up to be calmer and less agitated. They are able to recover easily from stressful situations better than their peers and have stronger immune systems.
Hugging keeps both mommy and baby feeling secure just like Huggies® Ultra. Inspired by a mother’s hug, Huggies® Ultra is cottony-soft plus hypoallergenic and pH-balanced for that extra care mommies are always ready to give. It also has natural extracts that give baby’s delicate skin gentle protection – like mommy’s cuddles!
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