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As we said last month, it is important that parents do their own research and listen to their instincts when it comes to deciding how they will approach the care of their baby.

Are they going keep their baby close, or follow many of the teachings that suggest not to “spoil” them by holding or touching too much? Dr Tiffany Field, a developmental psychologist and professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami has done much research on the effects of touch through massage on babies. One project that they have repeated many times with similar results involves touch with premature infants. They do very specific massage on these babies for 15 minutes 3 times a day. The results are a consistent 47% increase in weight gain and the babies leave the hospital an average of 6 days earlier than the control group babies, with a cost savings of thousands of dollars per baby. What we learn from projects such as this is that babies thrive and grow through touch. In addition to weight gain, massaged babies tend to be more alert, more easily calmed and less fussy, get better sleep and have lower cortisol levels, therefore less stress. It can be confusing. The old teachings told us that if we held babies too much, we would spoil them and they would be needy and dependent. The new research suggests directly the opposite. The more we hold them and keep them close, the more independent they will be. Having babies is a great teaching for all of us. They help us grow and learn on a day to day basis. Enjoy the ride!!

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