If someone asks me what the best part of my day is, I would surely say the time my little angel comes running to me and hugs me and kisses me on the cheek in her own style. The feeling of being loved by someone is unmatched. A warm hug definitely lifts our mood up. Whether we meet someone after a long time or say goodbye, happy for someone on their success or on our own or be it when we are sad and disappointed, a hug does miracles. We know that hugs always set things right. One might not have ever thought of the science behind this instant satisfaction and sense of support we get from a hug. Scientific reasons state that a good 15 to 20 seconds of hug makes your child bond more with the parent, grow smarter, healthier and more resilient. Similarly, kissing a baby is the most natural thing for parents, out of undefined love and affection. Kissing does boost up the emotional connect between the parent and the child. And much like hugs, there is science involved in the benefits of kissing your baby.
Here is the science behind hugs and kisses!
Hugs help in making the kids smarter
The cognitive development of a child depends a lot on the sensory stimulations like physical contact and hugs. A study on the orphaned and institutionalized children of Romania indicated impaired cognitive skills in them since they spent about 22 hours a day in cribs with limited human interaction. However, when they were exposed to 20 minutes of tactile stimulation through hugs and touches, the children scored higher in the developmental assessments in about 10 weeks. Keeping in mind, not all touches can boost a child’s cognitive abilities. Touches which are nurturing, gentle hugging provide stimulus to the brain for a healthy development.
Hugs help in growth
Studies indicate that hugging boosts the release of the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin. This feel good hormone in turn increases the release of other growth hormones like growth factor-I (IGF-1) and nerve growth factor (NGF). A nurturing hug and touch can thus, aid in the healthy growth of the baby.
Hugging builds immunity in kids
Hugging releases the feel good hormone, oxytocin which in turn lowers the plasma level of thyroid hormones, thereby, leading to faster healing of wounds.
Hugging creates resilience in kids
At birth, the kids do not have strong nervous system and can thus not control their emotions of stress by themselves. At the time of distress, the cortisol levels are increased in the body and brain an studies indicate that a higher level of cortisol when left unchecked for long affect the immune system of the kids and also affect their memory and at a later stage, their verbal reasoning. Hugs and nurturing touches initiate the release of oxytocin which lowers the stress level and makes children control their emotions and grow up to be more resilient.
Kissing helps in increasing the immunity in kids
As a mother kisses her newborn, the pathogens in the body of the baby is transferred to the mother through mouth which then reaches the mother’s lymphoid organs- tonsils where memory B cells specific for the pathogens on the newborn’s body are re-stimulated. These B cells help to produce antibodies for those pathogens. While breast feeding, the baby receives the antibodies for the pathogens in his body from the mother’s milk.
Hugging and kissing not just have scientific benefits but the emotional benefits are galore. It not just creates a stronger bond between you and your child, but also makes them happy and empathetic. As we all must have seen, a simple act of a long hug and a kiss to a distressed baby can pacify him and stop him from throwing tantrums. So keep hugging and kissing your little ones. After all you are a mom, and it is the only job in the world where you are paid with hugs and kisses and there is no other way you will want it to be. Mwahhhh!!!!