Cuddles – Making Your Baby Smarter, Calmer and More Secure

Research shows that babies thrive on skin to skin contact which provides warmth as well as the comforting scent of a loving parent (mum or dad). Holding your baby close will enhance bonding and neurological development”so relax, and enjoy snuggles with your little one. You are not only helping him feel secure – you are making him smarter! Hold him against your bare skin, nuzzle against his soft downy head, inhale and smell his delicious baby perfume.

There are two types of infant-rearing in the animal kingdom – caching and carrying.

The “caching” species, are adapted to long absences from their mothers in nests and burrows; such animals do not cry (or they would attract predators) and their milk is extremely high in protein and fat, to sustain the young for long periods.

We are much closer in behaviour to the continuous feeding, carrying mammals. In fact human milk is identical in fat content to that of the anthropoid apes, a carrying species and our babies suckle slowly, and they cry (often loudly!), when they are distressed or out of contact with our own warm body, just like our mammal ‘relations’! Many researchers claim that this is therefore an indicator that babies’ need for parental contact is innate.

Regardless of your own ‘handedness’ (i.e. if you’re a lefty or a righty), you will probably find that you instinctively hold your baby against your left side where he will find the sound of your heartbeat comforting (remember, this was the noise he heard constantly in the womb!). This is what Mother Nature designed, and she is the ultimate expert!

Carrying your baby in a sling gives you an extra pair of hands as you keep your baby close and this constant contact also helps you to learn and respond to your infant’s pre-cry signals. This responsiveness results in less frustration and stress and most of all less crying. Lower levels of stress hormones circulating in a baby’s blood stream result in a more relaxed, happy baby”and parent!

 
Last Updated: February 21, 2015

CONTRIBUTOR

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Parenting Editor, Author, Infant Massage Instructor & Mum of five


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