When Little Miss A was a few months old, I remember someone say hugging babies and carrying them frequently will spoil them? I could not even believe someone could think like that and for my happiness and mental sanity, I refused to even have a debate. (My mantra in life: do not react when you do not agree with someone. Stay calm!)
When Miss A had started walking and running, she would come running to us from somewhere and give a tight hug and kiss to us in her own unusual style. That undoubtedly was and now when she is 5 it still is the best part of our day.To date, she loves to hug and kiss us and I do not think I need a reason to hug her. I am sure many would agree it hugging your child is therapeutic.
You can read the post, It is tough to spoil your new born.
Kisses and Hugs Uplift the Mood
The feeling of being loved by someone is unmatched. Think of the pre-lockdown times did a warm hug not lift our mood up?In normal scenarios, whether we meet someone after a long time or say goodbye, happy for someone on their success or 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, huggingbabies is the most natural thing for parents, out of undefined love and affection. Kissing and hugging babies does boost up the emotional connection between the parent and the child. And much like hugs, there is science involved in the benefits of kissing your baby.
Science Behind Hugging Babies
Though I feel as a parent, you do not need a reason to hug your baby, but still, we can give scientific reasons. There are many studies that show that there are many benefits of hugging your baby. Let us discuss a few to understand the importance of hugging your child.
Hugs help in making the kids smarter
When it comes to hugging babies and the importance of hugging your child, the main reason is its impact on the growth of the child.
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 provides stimulus to the brain for healthy development.
Hugs help in the 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. Thus, hugging babies is very important for the development of a child.
Hugging Babies Builds Immunity
Hugging releases the feel good hormone, oxytocin which in turn lowers the plasma level of thyroid hormones, thereby, leading to faster healing of wounds.
(Did you know you can calm your kids with a hug when they are being hyper and not listening to you. Read the post, Hug Your Kids When they are Being Horrible to know more.)
Hugging creates resilience in kids
At birth, the kids do not have a 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 and studies indicate that a higher level of cortisol when left unchecked for long effect the immune system of the kids and also affect their memory and at a later stage, their verbal reasoning.
Hugs and nurturing touchesinitiate the release of oxytocin which lowers the stress level and makes children control their emotions and grow up to be more resilient. Read our post, Emotional Intelligence is More Important than Intelligence, to know why EQ is extremely important.
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 the 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 breastfeeding, the baby receives the antibodies for the pathogens in his body from the mother’s milk.
Kisses and Hugs Reduce Anxiety
Contrary to the belief that by hugging babies, they become dependent on you and this leads to emotional and behavioral problems, the truth is that it makes kids emotionally independent. When I hug or kiss Miss A all my stress goes away and then she is a baby for whom the world is her parents. It has been proved that hugs and kids reduce anxiety in kids, it also enables adults to handle stress better. To know more tips on handing anxiety in toddlers, read the post, 6 Helpful Tips to Handle Anxiety in Toddlers.
Go and Kiss and Hug Your Baby
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.
You can read the post, How to Teach Kindness and Empathy to Kids