All of us love to cuddle and play with our little ones all the time. We like to hold them and never let them out of our sight even for a moment. Science has proved that there is not really anything like 'holding your baby for too long'. This might be some good news for all parents who get scolded by their in-laws for 'spoiling' their babies and holding them up too much. Science says that you can cuddle your baby for however long you feel it is safe.
In fact, touch can be extremely essential for your baby's development. Nationwide research conducted in Ohio showed that touch can help both premature and full-term babies. Premature babies who have a lot of exposure to medication can benefit due to touch. They show improvements in terms of health and speedy recovery.
Another story shares by a mother of how she was a little sad when her baby arrived before the due date. However, she has no regrets - informing that her baby responded more strongly to gentle touch than did other premature babies. They weren't touched so often due to the fear of 'spoiling' them. She says that all the hours that she spent holding and rocking her baby girl next to incubator paid off. Gentle and supportive touch can actually be supportive to brain development.
Skin-to-skin touch with parents (especially the mother) helps preterm babies receive positive and supportive vibes that help their brains respond in similar ways than those babies who have experienced a full term inside their mother's womb. In fact, many doctors are developing formal training to help parents understand the importance of touch in newborns.
Don't get disheartened if your baby does not respond to your touch as much as you'd like them to. Some preterm babies tend to respond to touch lesser than full-term babies do. Parents should consider occupational and physical therapist who provide a carefully planned touch experience in a hospital setting. Offering "kangaroo care" (skin-to-skin contact and care) is becoming a common practice among many prominent hospitals.
What's better is the fact that both mother and the father can help with giving their baby a skin-to-skin care experience. Even siblings can contribute to this therapy. All this being said, parents also need to note that cuddling and holding your little ones is beneficial only during the first few months. After that, take that advice your relatives gave you. If you hold them for long spells of time even after a couple of months after their birth, they will get used to it and will then throw tantrums if put down.
Holding your baby will not spoil them as long as you know when exactly to stop. Also, make sure that you wrap them in proper warm clothes when you hold them so that they feel comfortable. It is also essential for parents to learn how to hold their babies as some positions can be discomforting for both the baby and the parent. It is alright to put your baby down if your hands are paining too much. There is no hard and fast rule which says that you have to necessarily hold your baby continuously. They also need to sleep and eat, so don't overdo anything.
If you both are working and often leave your baby with a nanny or some relatives, you can explain to them the benefits of touch for a baby so that they hold your baby whilst you are gone. After you come back from work, you can cuddle your little one to your heart's content. Along with the importance of touch, feeding and sleep patterns are also extremely important.
It often happens that parents only focus on one aspect of their baby's well-being and ignore the rest. Make sure this does not happen. List things that you need to do and keep a track every single day to see if you are following through. Visit your doctor for regular check-ups even if you think that everything is fine. This is because there may be finer aspects of health that only a doctor or paediatrician maybe able to point out to you!