Why Your Baby Loves a Cuddle

A newborn baby needs very little; it will be some years before they start demanding bikes and computer games. Apart from feeding and cleaning one of the most important things you can do for your baby is to hold them.

A newborn has a lot of adjusting to do; they have previously spent their entire existence tucked up warm and cozy with all of life’s desires on tap. Now they are out in the big wide world and your touch will reassure them that it’s not as scary as it might seem.

Early human contact is essential for both physical and psychological development.  Studies have actually examined the neurochemical effects of touch on a baby and the results are astounding but not surprising to us at Tiddley Pom. Psychoanalysts John Bowlby and Renee Spitz looked at the impact of orphaned babies and children in World War II and were the first to recognise that having basic physical needs met are not enough. Our offspring need touch to survive and thrive just as much as they need food. Modern science has studied the chemicals that the baby brain releases when touched and also notably the different ones released if they are not!

The most recent studies have been on premature babies. For years human contact has been minimalized on the most vulnerable of little ones to avoid the chances of infection. Now though the medical profession allows as much touch as physically possible. In one study by the University of Miami Medical School, infants that received just 15 minutes of massage three times a day put on weight 47% quicker than the babies who were left in their incubators. These babies didn’t eat more but their bodies simply developed faster. Doctors could see clear improvement in the development of their nervous system and their response to external influences such as a familiar voice or a rattle.

If this amazing effect can be measured in high dependency babies then what impact can touch have on yours? It is known that in general babies who are regularly touched grow and develop better and spend less time in hospital.

So apart from a nice cuddle what else can you do to promote touch between you and your baby?

Baby massage

As demonstrated in the above study baby massage helps to develop the nervous system and growth.

Story massage  

This is great for those older babies on the move. Don’t let a wriggly baby put you off this beneficial and enjoyable experience.

Baby Yoga

Adding movement to your tactile interactions can make them even more fun and engaging, great for babies of all ages.

Bonding With Your Baby

A huge benefit of all these techniques is that they reinforce the bonding process between you and your baby. There is, of course, the scientific aspect to this which we have touched upon but sometimes it’s simpler than that. Having some time dedicated to spending together simply for the purpose of enjoying the moment can be very grounding. Having a little life to be responsible is hard work especially if you are not getting enough sleep. Engaging in specific activities with your baby, where you are focused just on each other, can bring unlimited joy to both of you.

You can learn all of these techniques at groups like Tots Play, along with enjoying many other games and activities, all of which are designed to promote your child’s physical, cognitive and physiological development in age-appropriate ways. Their varied programme of developmental play classes is designed to give you the skills and confidence to interact with your baby in a way that is beneficial to you both, as well as being lots of fun! 

Now, go give your little ones a hug!

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