Mother's hug comforts babies in pain

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London, Apr 24 (UNI) Don't bother much if your baby is too young to take painkillers, just cuddle the infant to ease pain.

Confirming the power of a mother's touch, a study said a mother's cuddle is a natural painkiller for babies.

Premature newborns suffered less if they experienced skin-to-skin contact with their mother as they underwent a painful medical procedure, the study found.

Scientists registered the facial reactions, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels of 61 premature babies as they underwent a heel lance, which is used to take blood samples from babies.

The findings showed that the signs of pain fell by half when babies were in their mother's arms.

Within three minutes the babies' reactions had returned to normal, while those who were not cuddled were still in pain.

Celeste Johnston of McGill University, Montreal, who led the study, said the results showed that a mother cuddling her baby can facilitate not only less pain but also a quicker recovery.

A spokesman for Bliss, a premature baby charity, said, ''The benefits of regular skin-to-skin care in terms of improved heart rate and temperature regulation in the infant, and promotion of the mother and baby bond have long been recognised.'' ''This study suggests that there is also a particular pain management function to skin-to-skin care, confirming just how crucial this type of close contact is,'' he added.

UNI XC SKB BST1609

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