The Samahita Blog

Hug your Baby

By Dr. Paul Dallaghan

My favorite new study that I came across this week is the following: “Infants show physiological responses specific to parental hugs” (1). There are so many of you in touch who have recently had a new child. Though the current covid-19 protocol is social distancing and isolation this should not affect how you care for your infant. The opposite (unless you are actually infected). In short, what they find is that when parents, as opposed to strangers, hug, not just hold or squeeze tight, but a genuine loving hug of their infant – that sweet adorable bundle of joy and love who wakes you up all through the night – has the most nurturing response, meaning reflected parasympathetically in the behavior of the heart. So parents, hugging your baby is really important for them ….. and you.

I love the graphic from the original published paper, included above.

Here’s a quote from the study’s authors: “Your baby loves to be hugged and loves how you hug your baby. Even though infants cannot speak, they recognize their parents through various parenting methods, including hugging, after four months old at latest. We hope that knowing how your baby feels while being hugged helps ease the physical and psychological workload of taking care of infants too young to speak.” (2)


Infants show physiological responses specific to parental hugs
Yoshida et al., iScience 2020


Cell Press. “Young children find a parent’s hug more calming than a stranger’s.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2020.

Dr. Paul Dallaghan’s expertise with breathwork, body and meditative practices comes from three sources: (1) three decades of daily dedicated practice and teaching these techniques; (2) uniquely acknowledged in the Yoga tradition by the title of “Master Yogi-Prānācharya (expert in breath)”, following an immersion in the original culture through one-on-one direct training in practice and study of ancient texts; (3) a PhD in doctoral scientific research at a leading US university (Emory) covering both the tradition and science of yoga and breath practices in terms of stress, health and aging. As a result, Paul occupies a unique space to impart genuine teaching and science on the breath, body, and meditative practices, seen as a Teacher-of-teachers and identified to carry on the tradition of Pranayama. His sincere and ongoing role is to teach, write and research, to help put out experienced and authentic information on these areas of how we live, breathe and be, to help people improve their mental and physical health, and live more fulfilling lives.

For more on his background see his bio

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