New research has recently been released by the University of British Columbia which proves how hugging your baby develops not just their metabolism but also their DNA and immune system. Similar research on rodents has shown similar effects but this research on babies is also amazing!
About the Research
Every hug you give your baby releases oxytocin, the neurotransmitter in your brain associated with love, intimacy, empathy and generosity. The more you hug your baby, the research suggests that snuggling your baby can help improve their metabolism, immune system and help to develop their molecular profile.
“In children, we think slower epigenetic ageing could reflect less favourable developmental progress,” said Michael Kobor, a Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics. What this means is that they think the less physical contact a child has, it could potentially have an effect on their developmental process.
The study involved 94 healthy children in British Columbia. Researchers from UBC and BC Children’s Hospital asked parents of 5-week-old babies to keep a diary of their infants’ behavior (such as sleeping, fussing, crying or feeding) as well as the duration of caregiving that involved bodily contact. When the children were about 4 ½ years old, their DNA was sampled by swabbing the inside of their cheeks.
The children who experienced higher distress and received relatively little contact had an “epigenetic age” that was lower than would be expected, given their actual age. A discrepancy between epigenetic age and chronological age has been linked to poor health in some recent studies.
Warm Hugs? Yes please!
Well, I don't know about you but I love cuddling my little one, and with scientific research to back me up, what more excuse do I need?
Other Ways To Release Oxytocin...
Coming along to baby yoga and baby massage classes is another way to hug, cuddle, communicate and bond with your new baby. Classes like this help to encourage a deeper attachment between parent and baby through loving touch, facial expressions, smell, verbal communication, movement and song. These types of classes encourage that flow of oxytocin, are a lot of fun and also a great way to meet other mums and babies. Have a browse around my website for details of the local baby massage and baby yoga classes that I teach here in Woking, or search for other classes local to you.
Enjoy those warm hugs everyone!