If you need yet another reason to go ahead and indulge in snuggling with your baby, let this be your saving grace. Science says it has some amazing lifelong positive effects. So just accept it, embrace it, and cuddle that little human of yours a little while longer!
Why you need to be snuggling with your baby
As a parent, you already understand the great joys that arise from cuddle time with your baby. But according to research done at the University of Notre Dame, babies that get to a lot of affection and loving support during the earliest stages of their lives have a much better shot at growing up into well-adjusted, happy adults.
The study, which was published in Applied Developmental Science, involved adults having to answer a set of questions which included:
- How much physical affection they received as babies, toddlers, and young kids
- The amount of freedom they had to play out-and-inside when they were growing up
- How much time they spent doing things – as a family – inside and outside of their homes
- And whether or not they felt supported while they were growing up
According to professor of psychology, Darcia Narvaez, these indicators form part of an evolved developmental niche. She explains that humans are raised (and evolve) with a nest of care for their kids which correlate with a child’s schedule. And it’s something that we, as a species, have been chopping and changing at over the last 30 million years or so.
According to the research and findings, here’s how to tell whether or not you’ve created that nurturing nest for your little one:
- You focused a lot on soothing and naturalistic perinatal experiences
- As a parent, you’re driven to respond to your baby’s needs. And you tend to pick up on cues that your baby is in need before he or she starts crying
- In your parenting style, there’s a lot of physical presence and affectionate touch going around between you and your baby
- You breastfed your baby and did so extensively
- As a parent, you ensured a lot of playful interactions between your baby and his or her caregivers
- Together with your partner and your friends, you form a community of affectionate caregivers
What are the benefits of snuggling with your kids?
According to the study, adults who got affectionate touch and physical presence during their infancy stages and toddlerhood were much less prone to depression and anxiety. They were also more empathetic and compassionate in social settings.