What is skin to skin contact with baby?
Skin on skin contact is when mothers and babies are put together with their skin touching (no blanket or clothing in-between them), while they are breastfeeding. You can also lay baby on your abdomen or chest during other times, when you are not breastfeeding.
Skin to skin after birth
Early “Skin on skin” contact between mom and baby after birth should be encouraged even if mom has had a c-section...they can spend this time together while mom is being stitched up. Unless medically necessary, things like suctioning and vitamin K injections can wait until baby has latched on for the first time.
What are the benefits of skin to skin contact between mom and baby?
The importance of skin to skin contact…
- Baby is usually more content and cries less. Baby skin to skin feels safe and can hear mom’s heartbeat…which is familiar to him.
- With skin to skin baby will have a temperature that is more stable
- Babies heart rates have been found to be more normal
- A skin to skin newborn baby’s blood sugar is regulated.
- Bonding between mom and baby is increased and many moms find that they more easily recognize their babies needs.
- Newborn skin to skin contact after birth gets baby familiar with mom’s bacteria which helps prevent allergic diseases.
- One of the major skin to skin benefits is for premature babies. “skin to skin” contact with preemies can actually reduce the need for extra oxygen intake.
- Babies who are kept [skin on skin] for an hour after birth are more likely to latch on without help. Read more on an amazing thing called the breast crawl, where it is shown in a video, how a baby latches on himself! Watch the skin on skin video
- Skin to skin and breastfeeding ~ Babies who are kept close to mom (“skin to skin contact” and kangaroo care – breastfeeding in a sling ) are more likely to breastfeed exclusively and much longer.
- Babies who are close to mom in this way usually have a more rhythmic breathing pattern.
- Babies who are kept close to mom with skin on skin breastfeeding, usually breastfeed more often and this promotes a good milk supply.
- Skin to skin bonding ~ The physical contact will help mom produce more of the hormone oxytocin which will help with milk let down and bonding.
- Many moms have reported a decrease in breast engorgement pain during the first few days with lots of [skin to skin] contact and skin to skin breastfeeding.
Early skin to skin contact is so very important and the skin to skin benefits speak for themselves, the importance of skin to skin contact goes far beyond just success with breastfeeding, but has proven itself as a way of calming and medicating babies, especially those who are sick and/or premature.
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