Much has been written about the physical and psychological benefits of newborn contact with the mother, a fact which has been confirmed in numerous scientific papers. In the first moments of life the skin plays a crucial role. A new study of premature babies confirms this.
Ruth Feldman, a professor at Bar-Ilan University (Israel) and her collaborators spent ten years analysing the long-term effects of different levels of physical contact with pre-term babies. The researchers compared premature babies cared for only in incubators with other premature babies who had one hour of skin-to-skin contact daily with the mother. Studies were conducted seven times in the first ten years of life of the children. The results for children who had contact with their mothers indicate better cognitive and executive functioning, enhanced neuroendocrine response to stress, a more mature autonomic nervous system and better cognitive control. These scientists suggest that physicians should incorporate this technique in routines for managing newborns.