The Power of Touch

The Power of Touch

This week’s inspiration comes from the newest member of our family – Beckett James Doyle! We are so excited! He arrived safely last week, coming in at a whopping 9 pounds, 4.4 ounces, my son-in-law announced via text. Mother and child are doing well, he said.

As I listened to the hospital play their welcoming lullaby, I tried to wait patiently for my invitation to come see the little fella. After nearly an hour, I texted back,

“What’s the plan?”

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he replied that his wife and child needed a little more time for what sounded like mother-child bonding.

I understood that—I thought. After each of my four children were born, they were whisked away, measured, and wrapped tightly in a warm blanket and returned to my arms. I knew the importance of holding newborns.

But this was different, I soon learned. This post-delivery period is a special time of connection and adjustment that goes far beyond bonding. It’s called skin-to-skin care (or kangaroo care.)

The naked baby (sometimes with a cap or diaper on) is placed on the mother’s bare chest. If possible, mothers and babies should be in direct contact for one to two hours after birth. Amazingly, this special time has tremendous benefits for both mother and child.

It can regulate the child’s breathing, body temperature, stabilize blood sugar levels, improve gut health and immunity, and reduce the baby’s crying. For the mother, it can improve her sleep, reduce postpartum depression, and increase the milk supply.

Who knew the power of touch could be so important?

And not only for newborns, blogger Rachel Norman reminded me.

In her blog post, “Why cuddling is good for kids’ brains,” she notes the science behind the boost we all feel after the touch of a good hug:

When you get a loving and firm hug, it stimulates pressure receptors under the skin, which in turn send a message to the vagus nerve in your brain. The vagus nerve takes this cue to slow down your heart rate and your blood pressure, putting you in a relaxed state. The hug even curbs stress hormones such as cortisol, facilitates food absorption and the digestion process, and stimulates the release of serotonin, which counteracts pain. ~ The Connected Child

If you think about it, touch has the power to connect us in a way that can last far beyond the moment.

This quote from John Keats may sum it up best:

“Touch has a memory.”

Indeed. For those who give as well as for those who receive.

Thoughts of special hugs from my family and friends transport me back to beautiful memories. I cannot wait for Beckett James to give me his first hug! But in the meantime, his big sister Blakely is doing a mighty fine job!

What about you? Can you recall a special hug that transports you to a special memory? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best – always,

Becky  (Neehah! Note the new name!)

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