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Is it possible to hug a baby too much?

By Evonne Woloshyn, health enews, a news service from Advocate Health Care

If your newborn infant is getting lots of hugs, that’s a very good thing. Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH have found that gentle touching early in life has positive effects on the baby’s brain. The infants learn that affection is pleasant, not overwhelming.

In studying 125 full-term and premature babies, researchers found that hugs boost brain responses, even in those who have experienced negative experiences, such as trauma, as a newborn.

“We absolutely encourage meaningful touch with babies,” says Dr. Michael Cappello, a neonatologist at Advocate Children’s Hospital. “Even when babies are in the  Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and their condition makes it impossible for them to be held immediately, we show parents unique ways to touch or wrap their arms around them.”

“We are all about educating moms and dads on the importance of touch,” says Dr. Cappello. “There is no doubt, it makes a difference for your baby.”

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