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All the Benefits of Cuddling - For Babies, Children and Adults

 
By Max. D Gray. Updated: October 31, 2017
All the Benefits of Cuddling - For Babies, Children and Adults

Whether it's with your partner, your dog or your children, cuddling for a while is an act of affection everybody enjoys. Snuggling up is a reflex act that is an act of the most innocent and primary love that is much more than an act of protection and warmth, as our skin is the biggest organ in our bodies, therefore making the sense of touch much more important than you would actually think it would be. At oneHOWTO we'd like to explain all the benefits of cuddling for people during all the stages of life.

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Benefits of skin-to-skin contact with newborn babies

Since the moment we are born, direct contact with other people's skin has proven to have great benefits, both in the short and long term. Skin-to-skin contact is a practice that is more popular every day among moms and dads. Also known as Kangaroo care or KC, skin-to-skin contact is known as the practice of mothers holding their baby naked, with both their skin touching for at least 1 to 2 hours after birth. The dad can also take part, especially if the mother cannot provide skin-to-skin due to birth complications. So what benefits of cuddling does this practice have for both mother and child? Here are the facts:

  • Improves cardio-respiratory stability: Remember a newborn baby takes their first breaths of air outside a completely new environment? Skin-to-skin contact helps the baby get used to the act of breathing as they are helped by the breathing movement of the mother's chest, much sooner than infants that have not undergone this practice[1] .
  • Decreases the amount of crying: When a baby is born, they can suffer from pain during heel stick, which is one of the reasons babies cry when they are born. Studies[2] have proven that crying is reduced by 82% when embraced by their mothers.
  • Boosts their motor system modulation: Skin to skin has also proven to boost more flexor movements and postures in newborns rather than extensor movements[3], helping them adapt much quicker to their new environment.
  • Regulates their body temperature: Once the baby is introduced to the world, they will need to regulate their body temperature, which is something they will have to learn to do. Keeping the baby warm through the mother or father's contact can improve their acclimatization much better than an artificial warmer.
  • Protecting the babies from bad bacteria: We're sure you've heard that one of the benefits of natural birth is to pass on good bacteria to the baby's gut in order for them to be protected from pathogens. Well, although you cannot compare it to natural birth, skin-to-skin has the same function, which is why it is also highly beneficial for babies who have had to be born through cesarean. This good bacteria that the mother can transmit to the baby is said to protect against future allergic reactions. Related to the improvement of gut bacteria, this practice also improves the chances of the baby breastfeeding, which is also beneficial to create beneficial bacteria.
  • Bond boosting: On a psychological level, cuddling with a newborn can get to know each other better, boost the nurturing instincts in the mother and start creating a relationship with their new member of the family, which is why this benefit can also apply to fathers.
All the Benefits of Cuddling - For Babies, Children and Adults - Benefits of skin-to-skin contact with newborn babies

Benefits of cuddling with children

This first contact with their parents will bring a child into an upbringing that is more predisposed to protection, which is why, as they grow, cuddling keeps having its benefits for the child's upbringing.

  • Decreases anxiety levels: A recent study[4] has found that parents who cuddle their children are less prone to anxiety as they grow old. Family bond is increased by this sign of reassurance and security, which is why it makes the child feel a bigger sense of confidence.
  • Boosts happiness: One of the main benefits of hugging throughout a person's life, and no matter who you're hugging, is the release of oxytocin, which si the "feel good" hormone. This not only helps a child bond more with the person they are cuddling with, but improves their mood allover.
  • Helps create a more sympathetic child:A cuddle stimulates the parasympatheric system, which relases serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. This not only boosts the aforementioned, but relates the act of hugging to a positive attitude towards physical contact, which will help them be more understanding of others and will learn how to help others when they are in need of security or reassurance.
  • Can help disciplining: When a child bursts into a fit, is whingeing and you want to understand how your child is feeling, a hug can mean much more than words. Combining cuddling with some understanding words can go a much longer way than just letting them know they're in the wrong.
All the Benefits of Cuddling - For Babies, Children and Adults - Benefits of cuddling with children

Benefits of cuddling with friends

You don't need to be in a romantic relationship to need a cuddle. Apart from the benefits of hugging children, adults can also benefit from a hug from a friend every now and then:

  • Lowers blood pressure: If your friend is feeling kind of nervous and anxious in any situation, try hugging him or her to calm them down. Hugging is proven to slow down the heart's rate, thanks to the release of oxytocin in our bodies and lowers the levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
  • Helps in situations of pain: Did you know that oxytocin can also help improve a person's threshold. It has been proven to be so during child labor, but when going through situations of psychological pain and grief, hugging can also trigger a boost in oxytocin that will help the hurting person and gives them some much needed comfort.

Benefits of cuddling with your partner

Cuddling with a partner is even more full of benefits as, apart from those mentioned below, you can also benefit from the aforementioned.

  • Cuddling decreases social anxiety: Ever woken up in the morning feeling like you can't face the World? Turn around to find your partner lying down in bed and take a few moments for a small cuddling session. This is because another of the qualities of the wonderful oxytocin hormone is that it improves positive thinking and will help you get along with the day.
  • Improves sleep: Due to the fact that it reduces blood pressure, cuddling before sleeping can help chill out from a stressful day and get your heart rate down, which will in turn translate into better quality sleep.
  • Boosts your libido: When with your partner, cuddling will also have a desirable effect if you have a low libido thanks to the dopamine released during the act of cuddling, which can increase sexual desire.
All the Benefits of Cuddling - For Babies, Children and Adults - Benefits of cuddling with your partner

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to All the Benefits of Cuddling - For Babies, Children and Adults, we recommend you visit our Healthy living category.

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