You don’t have to be an expert to know that there is a special connection between a mother and her child. Once the baby is born, from their first moments they are tied to their mother, and a mother’s touch is crucial to forming different aspects of the child’s world. More importantly, this touch has positive influences not only for the baby but for the mother as well. Not that you need any reasons to want to hold your baby, but if you’re ever wondering why you’re so drawn to this, here’s the explanation for your mother’s instincts.
It Regulates Heat
The fact that babies are swept away right after delivery for a series of procedures is quite the opposite of what the baby needs. The womb is the ideal incubator, and while the baby is snuggly inside, its body temperature is regulated by the womb and placenta. This means that when it’s born, the body needs time to learn how to adapt to the different temperatures that are all of a sudden surrounding them. This is why babies are wrapped up in blankets or placed in incubators, but in reality, their mother’s arms cradling them is the perfect way to regulate their temperature.
Helps With Breastfeeding
There’s a set of instincts that we’re all born with, and one of them is to prevent starvation. When you see babies putting every-single-thing in their mouths, it’s because they’re trying to figure out what it is and whether it is edible. So as soon as the baby is born, it’s looking for food. If they’re in their mother’s arms, they will naturally turn their head towards the breast and try to find the nipple. However, if the baby is separated from their mother at birth for any reason, they might not get that instinct when they are reunited, because they will already have been fed a different way.
Stops Fear of Abandonment
People used to say that you should let a baby learn to calm itself down and not always rush in and pick them up when they cry. This isn’t completely wrong. In fact, as the baby grows, they need to learn that they should get your attention by telling or showing you what they need, not just crying to have you rushing in. But while the baby is still small, awake time spent in touch with their mother will make sure they feel connected. When you’re going for a walk, the outdoors can be a big change for a baby, so replacing a stroller with a baby carrier will help the child feel safer. And that feeling of safety will stop the child from developing a fear of abandonment because it assures them that all of their needs will be met.
Parent Mental Health
Your whole world flips upside-down when you get a child. Not only are you consciously changing your life to make room for the new child, but your subconscious is putting you in the role of a caregiver. While this bond forms naturally, it doesn’t strengthen naturally, and while the baby is still too young to show signs of affection or communicate in any way, the touch that you share will strengthen the bond for both parents. It can also be helpful for mothers who are suffering from postpartum depression, as touch will bring them closer to their baby and help them adapt.
Decrease Chances of Illness
A baby in the womb is protected from the world around it, and it can’t be affected by the germs in our environment. However, from the moment they are both, they are exposed to millions of microscopic germs that live around us. These germs are mostly harmless and they help to start forming our immune system. However, close touch with the parent at birth, as well as breastfeeding will help the mother’s bacteria strengthen the newborn’s immune system. And even if the baby gets sick, the lack of touch can only make it worse by raising the baby’s blood pressure and heightening the production of stress hormones. In short, moms make us healthier, in every way.
Of course, all of this applies to both mothers and fathers, as well as siblings. It’s important to remember that babies have an extremely good sense of smell, and it’s basically what helps guide them through their first days. This means that if you put on perfume before holding your baby, it might not recognize your touch. Make sure you’re introducing other people to the baby very slowly, and don’t just let anyone hold them as soon as they are born, because the babies can feel a different touch that might distress them. Hold your baby as much as you can and you’ll both have a much happier postpartum period.
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