This post is part of the 2010 API Principles of Parenting blog carnival, a series of monthly parenting blog carnivals, hosted by API Speaks. Learn more about attachment parenting by visiting the API website.
When we were expecting our first child, I bought the requisite newborn hats. Afterall, every new baby needed hats to keep their little head warm. When our son was born, instinct kicked in. As I brought him to my chest to snuggle him close, my head automatically dipped, taking in his new baby smell and kissing the top of his wet little head. Later we tried putting one of the little hats on him. It didn’t last long. I found that the hat blocked his smell. My instinct was to kiss and smell his little head and I couldn’t do that as well with the confounded hat on him. The hats were packed away for future children, who never were forced to wear the hats even once.
As mammals, we are ingrained to sniff and kiss our little ones at birth. It aids in bonding and helps us to connect with our children. It helps us to recognize our children. At the same time, it places our new babies at our chests: a source of nourishment and comfort. Just as mothers can identify their newborns by smell, infants, too, can recognize their mothers by scent.
I have yet to stop kissing my children’s heads. I kiss my toddler and baby on their heads as they nurse or snuggle close. My 5 1/2 year old hugs me tight as I kiss the top of her head, particularly soothing for us in times of conflicts. My oldest child is 7 1/2, and I still find myself ruffling his hair and giving him a kiss on top of his head when he passes me or comes to sit next to me. The day will come when he’ll have to bend down so I can give him kisses, but I doubt I will stop even then.