People who are cuddled as babies grow up to be happier adults, says study
One of the most amazing things about motherhood (and there are many to pick from) is how you come to realize how truly powerful your mama-touch really is.
Seriously; when my children are unwell, or hurting, or just a bit upset, me holding them close can literally make everything better. And there is science to back this claim up too, by the way. Plenty of research has been done to prove just how powerful human touch and hugs actually are (and why we should all be hugging a lot more), and when it comes to parents and children, the importance off cuddles become even more poignant.
In fact, according to Mother.ly, this cherishing, this affirmation of the infant from head to toe, teaches the baby who he is and forms an important foundation for children's sense of security and self-worth as they grow older as well. Feeling loved and cherished is also essential for children's ability to love and be loved later in life.
On the flip-side, what research often show, is that a lack of feeling cherished creates an angry (and often anxious) child, as children who feel rejected will often show signs of compromised emotional growth.
According to Notre Dame psychologist Darcia Narvaez, whose research following over 600 individuals was published in the journal Applied Developmental Science in January 2016, children who have positive experiences with regards to affectionate touch, free play and family togetherness grow up to be less anxious adults. And this starts with those first baby snuggles.
"Sometimes, we have parents that say, you are going to spoil the baby if you pick them up when they are feeling distressed. No, you can't spoil a baby. You are actually ruining the baby if you don't pick them up. You are ruining their development," says Narvaez.
"Part of it is following your instincts because we as parents want to hold our children. We want to keep that child close," she says.
"Follow that instinct. We want to keep the child quiet and happy because the cry is so distressing. It is on purpose, so you don't let it happen. So follow the instinct to hold, play, interact, that is what you want to do."
In other words, what you are doing when you are cuddling and showing your baby you cherish them, is build up their love for themselves and strengthen their sense of happiness and wellbeing – future proofing them against many issues and problems later in life.