Cuddle your baby

The skin is much more than just an extra layer covering all organs: it is not only able to adapt to environmental changes, but it also protects the body against external aggressions. The skin is our external nervous system.  It arises from the same embryonic tissue, the ectoderm, as do the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Here are some  interesting findings, demonstrating the importance of touch and contact. Worth pondering over…

– Dr. Ashley Montagu (1905 – 1999) noted that the prolonged labour of human beings, as compared to shorter labour of other mammals, ensures the adequate tactile stimulation of the fetus prior to birth.

– Other mammals lick their newborns soon after birth in order to ensure activation of vital organ systems.  Many researchers have shown that mutual cutaneous stimulation and physical contact between mother and babies in mammals were paramount for the survival of the babies.

– In contrast, this sort of stimulation does not occur in human beings (see The Nature of Human Aggression by Dr Ashley Montagu for a detailed discussion of this subject), the normal physiological occurrence of labour acts to ensure adequate stimulation for the human newborn as it traverses the birth canal.  

–  Researchers have also shown that the physical contact was the main regulator of the maternal instinct. The stimulation of the skin is one of the major triggers of prolactin by the pituitary. Prolactin is the most important hormone for triggering the process of bonding in mammals in general but also more specifically in humans.

–  McKinney noted that separating, for one hour, new-born shepherds puppies born from their mother significantly delayed the recovery of the mother.

– The first hours after birth are a developmentally distinct time for a baby and there are well documented short and long term physical and psychological advantages when a baby is held skin to skin during this time.

So cuddle your babies, kiss them, stroke them, enjoy skin to skin as many times as you want for as long you want , they need it and love it !