photo: Pixabay

If your great-aunt Gertrude still insists that you’re spoiling your newborn by holding her too much, now there’s finally scientific evidence that proves, once and for all, how much good holding your baby really does.

According to a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada, how much or how little close contact, like snuggling and cuddling, a baby receives can actually affect changes within them on a molecular level. What’s more, those changes can last for years. Researchers asked the parents of 94 participating infants to keep a diary of how much they held and touched their babies in addition to the baby’s behavior.

Four and a half years later they performed a special DNA test on the children. The results showed differences in specific genetic markers in “high-contact” infants versus “low-contact” infants. Those with less contact had a molecular profile in their cells that was underdeveloped for their age – indicating the possibility that they were behind biologically.

The research is still in its very early stages and researchers plan to continue looking at the link between contact and genes. “If further research confirms this initial finding, it will underscore the importance of providing physical contact, especially for distressed infants,” said researcher Sarah Moore.

What do you think of the results of this study? Share your thoughts in the comments below.