The more you hug your baby, the more her brain benefits, says study

A recent study of 125 Ohio babies — some of them premature — found that hugging babies stimulates their brains and also helps the premature babies experience gentle touch as pleasant rather than feeling overwhelmed by it. The study found that painful early medical procedures can adversely alter how babies’ brains respond to stimuli, but lots of hugs and holding can help undo some of this. Hugging, touching and holding babies is especially important for infants receiving intensive medical care, and can have a major psychological benefit for parents as well.

Key Takeaways:

  • Newborns go through a lot of stress after birth and simply hugging them can assist in lessening that stress while being healthy for the baby’s brain.
  • Skin to skin contact between people and babies is crucial to their early development.
  • Premature babies are especially vulnerable to the stresses and pains of being out of the womb, and this physical contact can assist in their overall development.

“The full-term babies experienced a stronger brain response than their premature peers, and, of the premature babies, those who’d had to endure painful medical procedures shortly after birth had the weakest brain reactions.”

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