Nothing feels better than receiving a warm hug. While many know that it comes with emotional benefits, a study has proven that it can also help develop babies’ brains.
In a 2011 study published in Developmental Cell, a team of scientists led by Dr. Gil Levkowitz of the Weizmann Institute found that oxytocin or as it is famously called, “the love hormone” plays a major role in a baby’s brain development since in the womb.
According to Levkowitz, oxytocin governs the formation of new blood vessels in the baby’s brain, particularly in the pituitary gland, which controls several physiological processes such as stress, growth, and reproduction.
In another study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science done by Bar-Ilan University in Israel, the researchers discovered that the level of oxytocin had a positive correlation with the level of bonding between the mother and the child.
In their study, the researchers found that mothers who had a higher level of the hormone spent more time bonding with their newborns after birth and were more protective of their children.
While there are many studies show that the hormone plays an important role in the bonding among those who share similar characteristics, apparently, oxytocin has long been involved with our lives before birth.
As the name suggests, “the love hormone” or oxytocin stimulates the feelings of pleasure and trust which are essential in all close relationships.
It is also the same hormone that helps us to cope with stress and to avoid engaging in destructing addictive behaviors!
The easiest way to stimulate oxytocin release is through healthy personal interactions such as hugging or affectionate touch.
So, if you are thinking between buying the extra educational toys for your child or showering them with warm hugs every day, do consider the profound effect of oxytocin has on your child’s brain development!