It’s science: Valentine’s Day prompts a November baby boom

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We know that cuddles are good for newborns, that’s why so many parents practice skin-to-skin contact in the earliest days, but a story out of the University of British Columbia shows that cuddles affect babies at an even deeper level than we thought.

According to the study published in the journal of Development and Psychopathology, the cuddles and hugs we give our babies have a lasting impact at the molecular level, for years. Basically, cuddling with your baby is changing their genes.

Researchers followed 94 healthy, 5-week-old babies, asking parents to keep diaries of when the babies ate, slept, fed and cried, as well as how much bodily contact there was during caregiving. Four and a half years later, the children’s cheeks were swabbed so that scientists could examine their DNA.

The researchers found that the kids who had been cuddled and held less, and been more distressed when they were babies, had a…

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