Hugging Babies Makes Them Smarter, So Snuggle Yours Extra Tight
Child Prodigy. Photo: Lambert/Archive Photos (Getty).
Becoming a parent is a crash course in many ways. From the moment your child is placed in your arms, you’re already learning new things, such as the importance of skin-to-skin contact on a newborn baby. It’s so important to the bonding process that many hospitals have implemented the practice into part of the regimen from the get-go.
As it turns out, a loving touch goes even further in helping your infant develop than you might think. If you’ve had a baby, you’ve likely had someone tell you that you literally can’t spoil them. Now, a recent study has not only confirmed the notion, but reinforced it with even more positive evidence.
According to a survey conducted by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, there’s a direct correlation between between physical affection and an infant’s brain development. The study was tested on 125 babies ranging from premature to full-term. While the preterm babies, (especially those who had to endure varying degrees of medical procedures) responded less to a gentle touch, one thing was clear in all cases: the more a baby is coddled, the stronger their brain responds.
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That said, according to researcher Dr. Nathalie Maitre, even the simplest forms of body contact will aid in brain development at these early stages of life. However, premature babies can certainly use the added love even more:
Making sure that preterm babies receive positive, supportive touch such as skin-to-skin care by parents is essential to help their brains respond to gentle touch in ways similar to those of babies who experienced an entire pregnancy inside their mother’s womb.
Bottom line: If you were looking for a good excuse to spend even more time with your child, science continues to make it pretty easy for all of us.