Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength. . .Psalm 8:2
Modern science has demonstrated how vital touch is for the survival and development of human babies. In the literature, babies deprived of touch experienced stunted growth, contracted a wide variety of illnesses, and were the victims of high infant mortality. These harmful effects have been observed in orphanages where babies did not receive adequate human stimulation. It is quite apparent from the research that human stimulation is as essential as milk and formula to the success of human development. If everyone acted on this simple fact, there would be a market for people whose sole job was to hold the babies of people too busy or too indifferent to do it themselves. This insight comes as a rude awakening to people living in modern societies where babies do not receive adequate attention due to weak communities and overworked parents.
If everyone acted on this simple fact, there would be a market for people whose sole job was to hold the babies of people too busy or too indifferent to do so themselves.
People of all ages have an intrinsic need for touch. Just as a baby derives life from human stimulation, adults are no exception. In my experience, holding a baby can promote mindfulness and relieve stress. Babies embody presence, spontaneity, and authenticity, which are not easy to come by in the adult world.
What I’m not suggesting is people go make babies simply for the mental health benefits. As parents out there can attest, caring for a baby around the clock can be a huge source of stress, especially when family and life circumstances are not ideal for raising children. What I am putting out there is the ancient idea that there is a peculiar strength people derive from their interactions with babies and small children.
Oftentimes, we don’t make time for babies because we lead busy lives and can’t quantify the benefit of spending time with a human being who can’t speak and doesn’t know his left hand from his right hand. The next time you find yourself thinking in these terms, remember that a baby’s public cry for attention may actually be an invitation into a mutually beneficial interaction.