For parents, there can be nothing more pleasurable and satisfying than cuddling the baby. No matter how tiring the day has been, a small cuddle relieves one of all the stress and anxiety. While some people say that cuddling the baby often may do the baby more harm than good (may spoil them or result in a weak mental strength), various research and scientific studies suggest the opposite. Mentioned below are some of the ways cuddling ends up benefiting your little munchkin.
A mood booster:
Have you ever wondered why do you feel so good and relaxed after a cuddle? The answer to this question lies in the scientific studies that suggest that cuddling results in a significant rise in the level of the oxytocin hormone. Also known as the "Love" or the "Cuddle" hormone, oxytocin secreted by the pituitary gland (posterior lobe) goes a long way to reduce the stress and anxiety, thereby enhancing the mood to an appreciable extent. Research states that cuddling the baby early in their childhood makes them a happy and cheerful child.
The skin to skin touch resulting from cuddling plays a pivotal role in making the bond between the baby and his/her parents stronger. The more you cuddle your baby, the stronger will be the physical and emotional bonding. In fact, leaving a baby crying in the crib for too long (sans any cuddle) can trigger anxiety and depression in the baby. The cuddling gives the baby a sense of love, care, and protection, all of which contributes significantly to pacify the baby.
A smart baby:
Every parent wants their child to be smart. As per neurological studies, cuddling the baby triggers a positive stimulation that plays an instrumental role in the healthy development of their brain with better connections between the different nerve cells. Such kids eventually grow up to be smarter kids.
Better physical growth and development:
As already stated, the skin to skin contact results in an increased production of the oxytocin hormone. In addition to being a mood enhancer, oxytocin is also responsible for ensuring a healthy growth stimulation. An elevated level of oxytocin triggers a rise in the level of some vital growth hormones such as NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) and IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor-I). In kids deprived of the cuddle or hugs, there is a dip in the oxytocin level affecting the physical growth and development of the baby.
Not only that, oxytocin also plays an instrumental role in strengthening the immune system. With a stronger immune system, the baby is able to fight various infections and health conditions better.
Better regulation of emotions:
Leaving a child without a hug or a cuddle for too long can leave the child in distress. The more the distress, the higher the level of cortisol released in the body. Cortisol or the "Stress- hormone" can do the child immense harm resulting in depression, cognitive impairment, an extreme expression of emotions, to name a few. A gentle hug or a cuddle is all that it takes to lower down the level of this stress hormone enabling a better regulation of emotions.