When a baby is born, more often than not, doctors will immediately place the infant on the mother’s chest. These first moments of skin-to-skin contact between mother and child begin to nurture the infant’s emotional, physical and cognitive development, while strengthening the infant-caregiver bond.
Touch can be a very powerful parenting tool, especially during the newborn stage. When babies cry, they release a stress hormone, cortisol, which slows brain growth and development. Newborn babies who are held often cry less (thus releasing less cortisol) and sleep more. This relaxed state facilitates early brain development.