When in sorrow or in pain, when you feel crippled by the world with no hope and shoulder to cry on, a hug from your mother is the best escape from these worries. Even during the tiny moments of embrace with her, you feel calm and happy. The smell of her body has some familiar longing of home.
Have you ever wondered why do we feel like this as soon as we hug our mothers?
The science behind the mother’s touch is immensely simple yet very powerful. Many of us would find it hard to believe that this connection originates right from our birth.
The first thing recommended by the doctors after the birth of a child is for it to touch the skin of the mother. By definition, ‘skin to skin care’ is a technique of newborn care where babies are kept skin-to-skin with a parent.
The technique has shown wonderful results in terms of increased glucose and respiratory stability, brain development and instinctive skill. It also helps in promoting breastfeeding for a longer period of time and prevents postnatal depressions.
1. Enhances Physiological stability
As seen in Kangaroos, the mother’s chest has the ability to adjust the temperature according to the thermal need of the infant and is termed as Thermal Synchrony. The human mother’s chest becomes warmer if the baby is cold and colder if the baby is warm. This mechanism facilitates the baby, who has just come out of a womb to a cooler environment, to adjust and adapt to it. This also increases oxygenation, respiration, glucose levels and reduces stress hormones. It also regulates the blood pressure.
2. Boosts up maternal behavior
Oxytocin is also known as the happy hormone and is released when the baby’s skin comes in contact with mothers’. This helps the infant to boost up attachment with the mother. It increases attraction, face detection and maternal behavior. The same hormones released in the mother helps in reducing anxiety and developing association with the baby and boosting up confidence.
3. Overcomes the effects of parting
The baby and the mother are considered as one being until delivery and thus this parting creates an emotional void for both of them. The baby complains by crying to get back in the old, warmer and nutritious habitat. The skin to skin contact prevents starvation, cold, and death. It is also seen that this process rescue mothers from postnatal depression due to separation. The skin to skin care promotes emotional intimacy between the mother and baby.
4. Promotes brain development
The skin to skin contact helps in activating the nervous system which plays a crucial role in mental development. This also promotes emotional growth and memory development. Before birth, the mother’s womb regulates the body temperature as well as maintains homeostasis. After birth, the skin to skin contact enables better self-regulation in the newborns.
5. Increases breastfeeding
The skin to skin technique helps the newborn to instinctively reach to the nipple and start breast feeding.
The first hour with the newborn is the most crucial one and they show very distinctive movements by crying, relaxing activity and then resting occurs. It is followed by crawling where the infant makes short climbs towards one of the mothers’ breasts. The familiarization takes place where the baby tries to lick and touch the nipple. After that the baby opens his/her mouth and suckles.
As somebody rightly said, the first impression creates a lot of difference. So live these moments with your new member, feel its delicate skin against yours and listen to the heartbeat, it vibrates with yours.