The importance of holding him in his arms

Cristina Silvente, perinatal psychologist, talks to us in this article about the importance of pampering the baby.

To any mother or father some family member or the neighbor or the lady on the street will have dropped the recommendation: “do not take the baby in arms that are spoiled”. This is not only impossible in babies who do not walk (how we do it to feed them even), but it is not based on any scientific evidence; Moreover, not picking them up could be detrimental to their psychological development.

For decades, the effects of physical contact deficits in babies have been known, especially in orphanages and in hospitalized infants. It is known as the Theory of Attachment, developed by authors such as John Bowlby, Harry Harlow, Mary Ainsworth, among others. The attachment is the emotional bond that develops the child / a with their caregivers and that provides the emotional security essential for a good development of the personality. He talks about the baby’s need to be close to his mother, to be cradled in his arms, protected and cared for.

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For those who want to go deeper, Sue Gerhardt’s Maternal Love should be her bedside book. Gerhardt affirms, based on the knowledge of neuroscience, that “the baby, for its development, does not need pedagogical or cultural aids, but that it is more appropriate, simply, to pick it up and enjoy it”. The areas of the brain that in the future will be responsible for social behavior, emotional regulation, coping with stress develop during the first three years of life. Depending on their care, they will do so normally or in a deficit way with implications for their social behavior and their future mental health.

“The first sources of pleasure are smell, touch and hearing. Feeling lovingly in the arms of the parent is the most important stimulus for development. ” Caresses help regulate the baby’s nervous system. Looks are important too. According to Allan Schore, an expert in trauma and affective alterations, positive looks are the most important stimulus for the growth of the brain’s social and emotional intelligence. A large number of positive experiences in the beginning of life gives rise to more neuronal connections, that is, greater performance and ability.

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On the other hand, separating from the baby can be a great source of stress. Let babies cry and not catch them systematically can be a source of trauma and prevent these brain areas develop, can cause more dependent children, with more self-regulation difficulties, less coping skills to stress situations, less self-confidence .
Premature interventions are very interesting, such as the Kangaroo Mother Method that is being developed in some neonatology services in our country. The book by Adolfo Gómez-Papi “The power of caresses” can be a good complement.
From Anthropology, Medicine and Psychology is becoming increasingly important skin-to-skin contact, to carry babies in their arms or baby carriers, to attend to their cry, beyond if you are hungry, thirsty, has the diaper dirty, cold or hot.

Finally say that in my practice, as in those of my colleagues, the people I attend do not complain that their parents spoiled them by picking them up, but rather the opposite, that they were not caught They did not embrace them, they did not treat them emotionally. A very high percentage of people in psychological counseling have had caregivers who have not known them or have not been able to take care of them in this aspect.

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• Take your child in your arms whenever you can, or ask for it, give signals or you see it.
• Massages, skin with skin, help your psychophysiological development.
• Look at him with loving eyes.
• Being close helps you create security and independence and ability to be able to explore your environment later.
• Babies always cry for some reason, they need to be treated as soon as possible.

Cristina Silvente
Health and Perinatal Psychologist
Cristina Silvente’s blog

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