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Why Mothers Kiss Their Babies: Emotional Bonds and Health Benefits

Riley and MomImmediately after my daughter was born and placed in my arms, I instinctively kissed her on her little forehead. As I sat on my bathroom floor with my husband behind me, I bent my face close to hers and kissed her tiny little face right under her mop of dark hair. I breathed my baby in and gave her her first kiss. No one ever told me to kiss my baby right after she was born. My motherly instinct, however, told me to get close to my daughter and give her kisses the moment that she entered this world. I have continued to kiss her each and every day of her life.

Kissing our children obviously establishes and fosters an emotional bond. I kiss my daughter because I love her. As she has gotten older, she has begun to kiss me back by happily opening her mouth when I lean in and say “kisses.” When my husband puts his cheek next to her face, she will also place her mouth on his face while giggling and give her daddy a kiss. Even at such a young age, my precious little Poppy is already learning about kisses.

Did you know, though, that in addition to creating an emotional bond, kissing our babies also provides health benefits? When a mother kisses her newborn baby, she takes in any pathogens living on the baby’s skin that will soon be taken in through the mouth. These pathogens are taken into the mother’s secondary lympoid organs like the tonsils where memory B cells specific for those pathogens are re-stimulated. If the mother is breastfeeding, her breasts use those B cells to produce antibodies for those pathogens. While nursing, the baby then receives the antibodies for the pathogens in his or her body.

Who knew that kissing was so beneficial?! I kiss my daughter first and foremost because I love her. However, in the back of my mind, I am also thinking about how my kissing her is also good for her physical health as the germs that I take in from her become antibodies in my breast milk. So, breastfeeding mamas, hold your babies close and kiss them day and night!

References

Why Mothers Kiss Their Babies: http://www.unhinderedliving.com/motherkiss.html

Image Credits

Riley and Mom: https://www.flickr.com/photos/willia4/3376408954/

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