You’ve heard the advice, “Don’t hold your baby too much because it’ll impact their future development.
Despite the oft-repeated claim, new research says: no need to put that baby down, because apparently, you can’t hold your baby too much.
What’s more is the more you cozy up to your little baby, the better off they’ll be in the future.
In a baby’s development, the importance of touch cannot be overstated enough. This recent research suggests that holding your baby is more crucial to brain development than previously thought.
Conducted at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, this research centered on 125 full term & premature infants.
While studying the effects of babies and touch, the researchers wanted to see how the infants reacted to gentle touch. They found that premature infants were less likely to respond to touching than full-term babies.
They also found that premature infants who had been exposed to painful medical procedures previously, were also less likely to respond to gentle touching.
However, this is not all bad news: researchers also discovered that the premature babies who experienced an increased amount of gentle touch, responded more positively than babies who were held or touched less often.
This appears to show that the increase in responsiveness to gentle touching, such as rocking and/or skin-to-skin contact, can really help develop an infant’s brain.
The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Nathalie Maitre, said it’s not too late for babies who aren’t already receiving adequate touch time; you cans till gain benefits from this new research.
Previously, studies conducted on everything from worm larvae to rat pups have displayed similar results: crucial to a baby’s development is their familiarity with touch.
While advocating for hospitals to get more involved with the important benefits that this contact can create in infants, Maitre has also been vocal about the benefits ability to provide lifelong positivity and development within the babies.
“When parents cannot do this, hospitals may want to consider occupational and physical therapists to provide a carefully planned touch experience, [which is] sometimes missing from a hospital setting,” Maitre explained.
Otherwise known as “kangaroo care”, facilitating this kind of intimacy between newborns & parents has become standard in many hospitals around the country.
This is of course excluding the profoundly sad cases where in the premature babies are not able to be held for a variety of health concerns and crucial reasons.
This handy prescription for close contact with infants isn’t just squarely targeted at mothers; fathers are also able to get in on the so-called “kangaroo care”, and in some cases, other close relatives will as well, such as brothers and sisters, even grandparents.
While many parents inherently know that advice that “too much intimacy will spoil your baby” isn’t true, there is a load of beneficial research to prove it, with essentially no negative effects.
So next time you take your baby close to you, just remember that your intimacy is backed by the good name of science.