The findings of a recent study revealed that hugging your kids more can have a better effect in helping them develop their brain more – so, keep those hugs coming!
According to Dr. Nathalie Maitre, they conducted the study on 125 newborns, both preterm and full-terms babies, at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio.
It was the study’s main purpose to determine whether physical touch had any profound effect on the newborn babies’ brain development. The results of the study has affirmed the belief that pouring love on your baby does help in better development of the brain and body.
Dr. Nathalie Maitre told Science Daily, “Making sure that preterm babies receive positive, supportive touch such as skin-to-skin care by parents is essential to help their brains respond to gentle touch in ways similar to those of babies who experienced an entire pregnancy inside their mother’s womb.”
So, why does that happen?
Well, have you noticed how you feel so happy when you hug and kiss your kids? That’s not just because you love them but because when you do that, your brain releases the ‘love chemical’ called oxytocin. This powerful hormone is responsible for that unexplained feeling of happiness – and it’s a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps regulate social interaction and is best seen in ‘pair bonding’.
The hormone is greatly stimulated, for example, during breastfeeding and when you kiss or hug your baby. The same thing also happens when a sibling hugs the baby.
In the study conducted by Maitre and her peers, they found out that ‘simple’ actions such as hugging your baby and rocking him back and forth even as he sleeps has a profound impact on brain development.
It appears that while you hug and kiss your baby, your body releases significant amounts of oxytocin, the same thing happens to your baby! You just don’t realize it but it is happening.
These bonding moments strengthen your connection with your child. This is the reason why children who were raised with love and affection are seen to better perform later in life. They are also less prone to developing clinical depression because oxytocin is an anti-depressant.
This also means that mothers who are experiencing post-partum depression should also be given more attention and provided more time for hugs and body contact, to ensure they have an increased production of oxytocin.
So, what are you waiting for? Give your babies more hugs! It will be better for you and your kiddo.