Right after childbirth, new mums are often encouraged to hold their babies. In some hospitals, mother and baby sleep on the same bed.
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Mothers are often told to cuddle, massage, stroke and hold their babies. According to Livestrong, there are several reasons why this initial touch is emphasized.
It promotes growth
Holding your baby right after he is born helps to promote physical and psychological development. A baby who is cuddled regularly puts on weight and grows faster and better than babies who have little to no initial physical contact.
Encourages family bonding
Your baby needs physical contact not only with the mother but with the father and other members of the family. This will help the baby bond better with others and become familiar with the rest of the family.
Contact with other members of the family also helps your baby have a better social development which will come in handy later in life.
Release of hormones
Several hormones are released when a baby is held. These hormones help in growth and regulating your baby’s body temperature. They also increase the sense of attachment to family members.
The stress hormone cortisol is also reduced. Your baby will therefore be more peaceful, sleep better and be more confident later in life.
Importance to premature and low-weight babies
Skin-to-skin contact between a mother and a premature baby or one who has a low birth weight can help the baby regulate their temperature better than if he was kept in an incubator. Contact also increases your baby’s ability to breastfeed thus promoting growth.