None of us like it when our children experience pain. A study in the January 2000 journal Pediatrics documented a remarkably powerful pain reliever for children – hugs! In this randomized, controlled trial at Boston Medical Center, some infants received full body, skin-to-skin contact with their mothers and others were swaddled in their cribs during the newborn heel-stick blood test.
Those who were being hugged had measurably less pain, with 82% less crying, 65% less grimacing, and significantly lower heart rates.
We can’t stop our children from having painful experiences, but our loving hugs are more powerful than we think at actually decreasing our children’s suffering.