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18 April 2018, 12:53 | Updated: 7 June 2018, 17:00
In fact, it's vital you give your tot lots of love and affection.
If you can't resist cuddling your newborn baby, you'll be pleased to know that it's doing them a world of good. This is particularly the case in premature babies, as research shows that they can benefit no end from being stroked and cuddled after their first few days in confinement.
The study, conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, show that tots that have been born too early will respond massively to gentle touching, rocking and stroking, with skin to skin contact helping aid their brain development.
Due to their first days of life in an NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), premature babies aren't as exposed to natural environments or as much human contact as a healthy baby, and therefore it hinders their initial developments.
Experiences such as breast-feeding and being gently stroked are associated with stronger brain responses, where as more painful experiences such as tube insertions and skin punctures are linked to reduced brain responses.
With premature babies experiencing a lot of the latter, it is vital for parents to give them more care and attention once they're home.
For parents who may struggle to hold or be physically affectionate with their newborns, experts are advising that enlisting the help of an Occupational Therapist to ensure they're getting the skin to skin contact they need.
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