The Samahita Blog

Hug your Baby

Paul Dallaghan
By 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.

Paul Dallaghan’s expertise with breathwork, body and meditative practices comes from three sources: over 25 years of daily dedicated practice and teaching these techniques; immersion in the original culture through one-on-one direct training in practice and study of ancient texts; doctoral scientific research at a leading US university (Emory) on yoga and breath in terms of stress, health and aging. Paul occupies a unique space to impart genuine teaching and science on these practices, acknowledged by his teacher and lineage (Kuvalayananda) in India as a Teacher-of-teachers and a Master of Breath, identified to carry the tradition (Pranayama). This places him as the only master-level yoga and breath practitioner currently immersed in scientific academic research on breathwork, stress and health. His sincere and ongoing role is to teach, write and research to help put out experienced and authentic information on these areas in a world full of confusion and conflicting messages both off and online.

For more on his background see his bio.

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