National Hugging Day celebrates the simplest and most effective way of expressing affection to the ones you love. If you’re a parent, you’ll never forget the first time you hugged your baby. Feeling their warmth and rhythmic heartbeat for the first time is a beautiful memory that you will cherish forever.
However, while hugging offers benefits for every stage of life, it is particularly important in child development. In fact, there are quite a few scientific benefits to hugging your child in the earliest stages of life. So this January 21st, let’s celebrate National Hugging day by delving into some of the most crucial benefits of hugging your baby.
Top Benefits of Hugging Your Baby
Hugs Boosts Brain Development
Brain development and learning occur when connections are formed between brain cells. Babies are born with very few of these connections, but with an immense potential to quickly form them due to their neural plasticity.
When babies take in new information by absorbing stimuli through their senses, these connections form at an accelerated rate. Similarly, any touch to the baby’s skin will also stimulate a large portion of the brain and spark additional connections, thus leading to a more developed brain.
Hugs Reduces Stress Hormones
During moments of stress, hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released throughout the body. Because babies cannot yet regulate their emotions, these chemical reactions to stress can linger and have negative impacts on their health. Increased levels of oxytocin from hugging reduces these stress hormones, thus calming all of their systems and boosting feelings of happiness.
Hugs Boost Breast Milk Supply
The calming benefits of hugging don’t just affect your baby, but you as well! Hugging can help relax the mind and body to combat the stress that depletes breast milk supply. Additionally, oxytocin is one of the most important hormones for making breast milk. Reduce your stress even further with Baby Brezza’s Safe + Smart Breast Milk Warmer to warm your breast milk quickly, safely, and with total peace of mind.
Hugs Helps Regulate a Baby’s Sleep Patterns
Before a baby learns to communicate verbally, they first communicate physically. A hug physically lets a baby know that they are loved and cared for by conveying warmth and security. This same sense of security has been known to help establish more routine sleep cycles for babies. Having your baby sleep skin-to-skin not only keeps them warm, but also has the added benefits of stabilizing heart, respiratory, and oxygen saturation rates. Of course, ensuring that their bottle is warm is also an important factor in helping your baby sleep. With Baby Brezza’s Instant Formula Warmer, you can make a perfectly warm bottle every time!
Hugs Helps You Bond With Your Baby
One of the most important benefits of hugging is the bond it creates between you and your baby.
From the first time you hold your child, you form a special bond. This initial bond is nurtured through hugs by improving trust, reducing fear, and strengthening relationships.
The Baby Brezza 2-in 1 Swaddle Transition Double Zipper Sleepsuit makes sure your baby stays “snug as a bug” during naps and at nighttime.
How Many Hugs a Day Does a Baby Need?
While there is no clear consensus on the exact number of hugs a baby needs, experts recommend 10-20 hugs per day for a baby’s first years of life. There is a common misconception that “too many hugs” can spoil a baby. This is simply untrue, as baby’s require copious amounts of attention.
When Do Babies Start Hugging Back?
Baby snuggles are the best, but there's nothing like the day they hug you back, or even initiate a hug of their own. Babies typically start to hug back between 16-18 months of age. This is when they start to become more independent, but still need that reassurance that mom and dad are there for them.
What Happens if You Don’t Hug a Baby?
Countless studies have examined the effects of not hugging a child during their earliest days of development. A lack of hugs, or physical affection in general, can lead to stunted growth, unregulated social behavior, insecure attachment styles, and many other negative effects.
The benefits of hugging your baby are immeasurable. Regardless of their age, communicating to your child that you are there for them unconditionally, is essential for their overall development and well-being. So, celebrate National Hugging Day by hugging your baby to help them build towards a happier, healthier life!