Reassuringly though, over half (55%) strongly believe cuddling is the key to encourage a stronger bond with their baby but 22% do not know why.
HUGGIES® Natural Fit’s independent spokeswoman, Dr. Carol Cooper says: “Oxytocin has long been dubbed the cuddle or love hormone and is produced in high levels during both cuddling and breast feeding.
“Becoming a mum for the first time can be a daunting task. It’s therefore important that more mums are aware that there are so many more benefits to cuddling your baby.
“In fact, research by the Basel’s Institute of Psychology claims mothers with high levels of Oxytocin adapt to motherhood far easier and are less likely to suffer from post-natal depression. Postnatal depression can last up to two years post birth which indicates that the more tactile contact a mother has with her child, the better for both parties.”
The research also revealed that while more than half of mums (52%) cuddle their baby immediately, 42% believe that they should wait so that the baby does not expect immediate attention.
Dr. Cooper comments: “Research has shown that babies who aren’t comforted when they need it actually become more demanding, not less. Parents eventually discover from experience, that there is very little to be gained by waiting for a baby’s cries to reach a crescendo - babies that have reached this point are much harder to pacify.
Dr. Cooper also speaks of the wider social implications associated with a lack of physical affection: “Evidence shows that the part of the brain, known as the Orbitofrontal Cortex, may not mature properly in babies who do not receive enough affection. This region of the brain is still mysterious, but it acknowledged as being vital to decision-making and emotional processing.
“It’s clear that mums are already building a bond with their little ones through a cuddle but I do hope this survey shows all mums that there are many more benefits beyond the initial feel-good factor of a cuddle.
“To put it simply, where there’s mum with high levels of Oxytocin there is a happier mum and a baby getting lots of cuddles and the best start in life.”