Cuddling a baby means a higher likelihood of the child becoming a healthier, happier adult, new research has found.
What research says about cuddling crying babies
A Norte Dame psychologist found that snuggly childhood experiences can help children grow into successful and well-adjusted adults, WSBT reported.
Darcia Narvaez, a professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, and her colleagues surveyed more than 600 adults. They found that adults who said they received cuddles, snuggles and lots of free play time as children evolved into adults with less anxiety and better mental health.
‘These things independently, but also added up together, predicted the adults’ mental health, so they were less depressed, less anxious, and (in regard to) their social capacities, they were more able to take other people’s perspective. They were better at getting along with others and being open-hearted,’ Narvaez said.
Narvaez said parents should hold, touch and rock their babies as much as possible.
‘What parents do in those early months and years are really affecting the way the brain is going to grow the rest of their lives, so lots of holding, touching and rocking — that is what babies expect. They grow better that way. And keep them calm, because all sorts of systems are establishing the way they are going to work,’ she said.
In fact, Narvaez said, cuddling is so important that ignoring babies when they cry could affect them negatively.
‘If you let them cry a lot, those systems are going to be easily triggered into stress. We can see that in adulthood, that people that are not cared for well tend to be more stress-reactive and they have a hard time self-calming,’ she said.