Without doubt, if you’re a parent, you will surely agree that there’s no greater happiness than hugging your child for the first time.
And, according to studies, earliest baby hugs strengthen our children’s brain responses and postpone traumas that the newborn may be prone to.
In the survey done with 125 full-term and premature babies at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, gentle affection had a long-term impact on the babies’ brain reaction to gentle touch.
Continue reading the article to learn more about why this happened…
Hug Your Baby Often
According to the study’s findings, early exposure to hugs helps pre-term babies to feel affection and stimulate their brain responses.
This finding additionally strengthens the claims about the advantages of kangaroo care and regular skin-to-skin contact with our newborns.
Without doubt, it also indicates that the hours we spend cuddling with our little ones is vital in the fight against the negative experience in prematurely born babies who’re especially sensitive.
How Was the Research Conducted?
The team of scientists used a soft EEG net that was stretched over the baby’s heads and measured the brain responses.
The babies were touched using gentle puffs of air before sending them home from the maternity ward.
In the full-term babies, there was a more notable brain response than in their premature peers. In the premature babies, the ones who endured painful medical procedure after birth, the brain reaction was the weakest.
The more supportive touches the baby received from the parents or caretakers, the stronger their brain response was. For one of the authors of the study, Dr. Nathalie Maitre, skin-to-skin care is pivotal for babies, especially ones spending time in neonatal ICUs.
And, when parents can’t provide this skin-to-skin touch, hospitals should consider physical and occupational therapists that will be in charge of planned touch experience. This is something that unfortunately many hospitals lack.
Indeed, our hearts may feel bigger when we hug our babies, but our babies’ brains are growing faster too!