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Scientists Say That Holding Your Baby More Often Affects Their DNA

If you can’t resist hugging and cuddling your baby, we don’t blame you. Their sweet smell, their soft skin, and their cute looks can make any parent go weak in their knees. But aside from the physical attraction, science has shown that there are more psychological and developmental reasons for you to cuddle your baby.

Bright Side found some research that shows that, apart from the psychological reasons and reasons like, “I can’t help myself,” cuddling babies changes the way their DNA shows itself.

According to a study published in the Development and Psychopathology journal, cuddles and hugs have a lasting positive impact at the molecular level. Basically, cuddling with your baby can affect their genes in a positive direction.

Researchers studied 94 healthy, 5-week-old babies. They asked their parents to keep diaries to record their babies’ schedule: like when they ate, slept, were fed, and cried. The parents were also asked to make a note of how much bodily contact occurred during caregiving. 4 and a half years later, the scientists swabbed the children’s cheeks to collect DNA.

The researchers found that the kids who had been cuddled less were lagging in biological development when compared to kids who had ample physical contact with their parents. According to Michael Kobor, a professor in UBC’s Department of Medical Genetics, less physical bonding during childhood can lead to the slow biological aging of genes.

According to researchers, the results are consistent and conclusively show that kids who got fewer hugs and were more distressed in infanthood, had a lower than expected “epigenetic age” at 4 and a half.

A survey found that the more you hug a baby, the more the baby’s brain benefits. In this survey, 125 full-term and premature newborns were studied. This survey concluded that the more supportive touch a baby received from their parents or hospital staff, the stronger their brain responses were.

Researchers are still working on their findings and conducting further studies to understand the importance of physical bonding and its impact on newborns.

Research has shown that physical contact between a newborn and their parents has many more benefits:

1. Cuddling helps the baby regulate its body temperature.

2. It may reduce any stress that babies experience while breastfeeding.

3. Studies show that hugging can be a potent painkiller for kids.

4. Hugging their babies has been shown to calm mothers and fathers as well.

5. It promotes early dad-baby bonding.

Meanwhile, if you are worrying that you are hugging your baby too much, just go and give them another hug! Did you know that the simple loving act of hugging could actually be so beneficial? Share your views in the comments. And if you found this article informative and interesting, share it with your friends and family.

Please note: This article was updated in March 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
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