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A 26-week-old preemie seeks human touch. Figure 1
Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Touching story: 26-week-old preemie reaches out to nurse with tiny hand in captivating photo

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

March 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A picture of a 26-week-old preemie reaching out to touch a nurse's hand affirms the humanity of the most fragile human beings.

The Daily Mail published the photo, found on a website for medical staff called Figure 1. It shows a tiny baby girl, born at 26 weeks’ gestation and weighing less than one pound, "seeking the comfort of human touch."

The baby girl's whole hand was only 3/4 of an inch.

"I was changing her nappy and she just held onto my hand," the nurse explained online. "I had to stop and just let her. Human touch is so important."

Scientists believe skin-to-skin contact is crucial to a child's physical and psychological development.

Birmingham City University's head of psychology, Professor Craig Jackson, explained that babies need skin-to-skin contact. They crave the type of relational and physical closeness they experienced in the womb.

A mother’s skin contact with her baby is known to stimulate the production of breast milk. Such contact also releases oxytocin, known to create interpersonal bonding.

The Daily Mail reported on a 20-year Bogota, Columbia, study of 250 babies on the effects of skin-to-skin contact. The results were published in the December issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The study tested "Kangaroo Mother Care" for low-weight newborns, which replaced the cautious incubator approach for the most fragile human beings with "strapping the baby upright to the mother's chest in skin-to-skin contact" and exclusively breast feeding.  

The study found that babies who were given close skin-to-skin contact were calmer, less hyperactive, less aggressive, more faithful to school attendance, more sociable, slept better, and grew more brain matter.

A major review of 21 studies and more than 3,000 babies concluded that the maternal skin-to-skin contact "was preferable to conventional neonatal care." Fathers making skin contact led to positive results as well.

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The nurse reported that the fragile little girl in the picture is now a "happy, healthy, 14-pound nine-month-old."  

"Premature babies are the definition of a miracle," she said. "I have the best job ever."

Dave Andrusko of National Right to Life News opined, "If ever a picture was worth a thousand words, this is it."

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