Cuddling reduces stress for premature babies

Neonatal intensive care units are marvels of medical technology that have saved the lives of countless infants born too early or weighing too little. Nevertheless, life in a NICU can be very stressful to a newborn. Twenty-four-hour exposure to light, loud noises from various alarms and medical machinery, the irritating smell of disinfectants and adhesives can rattle the newborn’s still-developing nervous system, triggering multiple internal alarms. As if that weren’t bad enough, studies have found that hospitalized neonates undergo an average of 10to 14 painful-yet-necessary medical procedures a day — usually without a reassuring touch from Mom or Dad to soothe them.

Read more.