What Every Parent Needs To Know About Touch
Human touch affects newborn stability and the quality of mother-infant attachment. Smelling mother, feeling the touch of mother's skin and hearing mother's heartbeat all help to regulate your baby's temperature, heart and respiration rates. That’s why kangaroo care is ideal for your delicate little newborn, particularly premature newborns.
Skin-to-skin contact increases oxytocin, sometimes known as the ‘cuddle hormone’ and is the hormone responsible for bonding. Babies who are carried have higher levels of oxytocin and are found to be more content, less fussy, settle quicker and sleep more deeply. Their digestion is generally better and this is believed to greatly ease the symptoms of colic and reflux.
In fact, baby-wearing is hailed as one of the most important factors in babies’ physical, intellectual and social development.
Did you know that in cultures where mothers traditionally carry their babies on their bodies, babies cry up to 51% less of the time? And post-natal depression is an unknown concept?
For mothers, having baby against your body helps balance your hormones, making breastfeeding easier and post-natal depression less likely.
Having your baby so close allows you to become quickly atuned to her signals. This means that you can attend to her needs with less frustration and stress. And with her needs met, baby is less likely to cry, again reducing frustration and stress all around. You can easily see how this provides the most nourishing environment for your child.
So What Is The Healthiest Approach?
Conventional ‘wisdom’ has taught for many generations that if a baby is held or carried too frequently they will be spoilt, clingy or demanding. Modern research reveals quite the opposite*. The physical and psychological benefits associated with baby-wearing encourage children to feel secure and content and build a solid sense of self-esteem.
Babies who are carried are less clingy and tend to initiate separation much earlier than babies less frequently held. It allows your child to be AT the centre of activity, not be THE centre of attention, which is a wonderful environment proven to stimulate brain development and cognitive learning.