NEW RESEARCH: Keep in Touch

father and baby

A 2020 study underscores the significance of skin-to-skin contact between babies and caregivers 

Any parent knows that newborn babies crave cuddle time. But a new study puts a spotlight on just how impactful going skin-to-skin with your little one can be. Researchers at University College London analyzed 27 infants’ brain responses during a necessary heel prick by placing electrodes on the children’s scalps. Some babies wore just a diaper while being held in a parent’s bare arms during the jab. Others wore clothing while being held, and others still were swaddled in an incubator or crib for the shot. Across the board, the babies who were skin-to-skin—wearing just a diaper in their mom or dad’s unclothed arms—had less neural reactivity to the pain than the infants in the other two groups. The study adds to a strong body of evidence showing benefits of skin-to-skin contact between babies and their caregivers. Research shows that it can boost the baby’s immune system, lower parents’ stress levels, promote production of mom’s breast milk, help the baby gain weight and more.

Ozerova/Shutterstock & (father & baby) Lopolo/shutterstock.