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Parents Can't Hold Their Babies Too Much, According To New Study

By Kristi Pahr

Every new parent has that one friend or relative who tells them they spoil their baby too much. Too much holding or cuddling of your baby has gotten a bad reputation over the years, and is sometimes blamed for a child's bad behavior, such as crying in public or throwing a temper tantrum. Advocates for “self-soothing” often claim that babies should be left to cry out their feelings, so they learn the ability to soothe themselves and not become dependent on a parent or caregiver to help them regulate their emotions.

Luckily for the holdouts, science is on your side. A recently study corroborates what some people have felt all along: You can’t hold your baby too much. In fact, the more cuddles, the better.

Researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio observed 125 babies born between 24 and 42 weeks gestation. Babies were attached to an EEG (electroencephalogram) which allowed their brain activity to be monitored and recorded. For this study, they were exposed to a gentle puff of air, as well as a "fake" puff, and their brain responses were measured by researchers.