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Get Your Snuggle On: New Study Says Cuddling Your Babies Often Is Good For Them

posted: 03/22/17
by: Amanda Mushro
happy family. mother playing with her baby in the bedroom.
iStock

Forget that old wives tale that says if you hold your baby too much you will spoil them, because a new study says snuggling, cuddling, and holding your baby often and early is not only good for your bundle of joy.

According to a report in Current Biology, holding your baby often creates experiences that will linger in their brains for years to come. So all of those early touches, cuddles, and snuggling has lasting effects on how your baby will respond to gentle touch later on and may have special impact on preterm babies.

Researchers from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio looked at 125 infants, both premature and full-term, to compare how babies responded to touch. Using a gentle puff of air, researchers were able to measure the babies' brain responses. Preterm babies, born between 24-36 gestational weeks, were more likely to have a reduced brain response to the touch.

However, for those babies that spent a significant amount of time in the arms of their caregivers, the results were different. Preemies that received cuddles early and often had brain response that were stronger when those babies who did not have as much gentle contact.

So what does all this research mean?

According to Dr. Nathalie Maitre, lead scientist on the study, being touched and held by caregivers, permanently impacts a baby's brain and can have a lasting impact on their cognitive development, communication, and behavior later in life. So hold your little one now for a healthier baby later.

"Our findings add to our understanding that more exposure to these types of supportive touch can actually impact how the brain processes touch, a sense necessary for learning and social-emotional connections," she told Fox News.

Snuggling a new baby is pretty much heaven. So when you bring home your baby, ignore everything else and just cuddle your baby.