HUG Newsletter: Spoiling your baby – or not!

Sarah sits in the nurse practitioner’s office holding five-month-old baby, Makaila, closely. “My mother worries that I’m spoiling my baby”, Sarah shares, as she looks down and smiles at her daughter. Makaila was born one month early, but she is acting like a four-mont-old. Sarah is reassured when reminded that babies develop according to their gestational age, not the number of months they have been out into the world. Most babies born only a few weeks early “catch up” on development around one-year-old.

Those early months had been a challenge and Sarah and her family was so pleased with the care they received in the NICU. Kind and highly trained nurses and doctors provided critical care AND “introduced” parents to the capabilities of their newborn. The lactation consultant helped mom pump her breast for a few weeks until baby could learn to breastfeed. And most important to to these parents, they learned the magic of a loving touch to their baby’s brain development.

But will Makaila be spoiled by the continued attention of this caring mother?

The Science – Brains LOVE a HUG!

Professionals and families have always debated “Will TOO much attention spoil a baby?” A new study confirmed that you can’t ever cuddle a newborn too much. A study looking specifically at the impact of gentle touch on premature babies, confirms that frequent, loving touch promotes a premies brain development.


Child development specialists go on to explain that responding to the needs of the older child is the foundation for the emotional and intellectual development of a resilent, capable child in the future. When a child is about nine months old she begins to learn “cause and effect” – the concept that if “I do THIS, THAT will happen.”  As the baby enters her second year, attentive parents will discover that child encounter

Recent studies done with babies in a NICU confirm that loving touch actually enhances a baby’s brain development. A baby’s ability to organize and respond to sensory input determine baby’s eventual perception and behavior. Touch in the neonate is the building block of interaction and cognitive development. These researches evaluated how sensitive touch impacted the brain. They concluded that sensitve touch, skin-to-skin care and breastfeeding