• Rosemary Joyce

Laughing is sooo good for your baby, you should try it. Actually.

Let's be honest. Most of us take parenting (and life!) far too seriously. In amongst the severe sleep deprivation and daily chaos that is parenting small people, we fail to see the funny side of anything. Too often our perspective zones straight in on the mess we'll have to clean up, or what we have to get onto next to keep the day ticking along. What we don't see is that by missing out on regular fits of joy and laughter we are actually negatively affecting our health. Missing out can even make you sick. And what's not good for you is not good for your womb baby either...

A study in 2015 found that laughter plays a key role in attraction. It showed that when two strangers meet, the more a guy can make his gal laugh, the more they are attracted to each other. If you are part of The Birthing Room's Antenatal Classes, you'll know what fabulous hormone is hard at work here... It's the love hormone oxytocin of course! When we laugh we produce this amazing hormone, and its effects are amazing for our bodies. Oxytocin bonds people together (a winner for both couple relationships and baby-parent bonding). It lowers levels of stress and anxiety. It also plays an essential role in childbirth and lactation, and helps your baby's brain grow.

As much as they claim this is new information, scientists are only re-inventing what our wise ancestors have been telling us all along. After all, it was written thousands of years ago that "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Laughter is literally medicine. A regular burst of LOL with tears rolling down your cheeks helps lower your blood pressure, defends your body against sickness, and improves your memory, your mood and your creativity. It's even used in some places as a complementary therapy for cancer treatment.


Whilst we all like a good excuse to curl up in bed and watch an awesome side splitting movie (try Going in Style for one that makes your pelvic floor muscles work overtime whilst you are in fits of giggles), it's true that like most good things laughter is best when shared. Make sure you're regularly catching up with friends who bring joy into your life. If your parenting coffee group is starting to get a bit stale, why not put together some ridiculous games to share? You never know, you might get to see a whole different side of people...


References

J. A. Hall. (2015). Sexual Selection and Humor in Courtship: A Case for Warmth and Extroversion. Evolutionary Psychology, 13 (3). DOI: 10.1177/1474704915598918

Nagdeve, M. (2019). 10 Impressive Benefits Of Laughter. Retrieved from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/health-benefits-of-laughter.html

Salamon, M. 11 Interesting Effects of Oxytocin. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/35219-11-effects-of-oxytocin.html

Society for Endocrinology. (2015). Oxytocin. Retrieved from http://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/oxytocin/

Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative (2019). Insert from the Baby Friendly Initiative: Infant feeding and Relationships. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/08/Baby-Friendly-relationship-building-red-book-p5.pdf

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