It’s a simple three-letter word and an everyday gesture for most, but do you know just how powerful a hug is? A look into the wonder of hugs, presented by Huggies Ultra.
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.