By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)—A new study released highlights the importance of skin-to-skin contact for premature babies.

Lucas and Theo Floren had a traumatic start in life. Born at just 31 weeks, the twins spent their first weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“It was really scary and we didn’t know what was going to happen at that moment,” said Sara Froberg.

Their parents couldn’t wait to finally hold them.

“It was amazing for both me and for them to connect with them, to really calm them down,” Froberg said.

Many NICUs around the country encourage “Kangaroo Care.” Premature and low birth weight babies get constant skin to skin contact from mom and dad and exclusive breastfeeding is recommended when possible.

“They’re close to the mothers or fathers they’re able to maintain normal temperatures which helps them regulate their bodies better,” said Dr. Sean Bailey, with NYU Langone Medical Center.

Now research finds that close contact is having long-lasting benefits.

A study in the Journal Pediatrics shows babies who had Kangaroo Care are thriving 20 years later.

“Having better jobs, having higher-functioning in society and making more money, and having more normal behaviors,” said Bailey.

The study also suggests families trained in Kangaroo Care are likely to stay together and be more protective and nurturing.

“I think this is my start of bonding with them on a physical level. there is no better feeling than just having them on your chest. It’s amazing,” said Patrik Floren.

The boys are now 3 months old and growing each day, they’re still getting plenty of snuggles at home.

 

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