What is skin to skin contact with a baby?
Skin on skin contact is when mothers and babies are put together with their skin touching (no blanket or clothing in-between them). You can also lay your baby on your abdomen or chest as much as possible, you do not need to breastfeed to benefit from skin to skin contact.
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 even while Mom is being stitched up. Unless medically necessary, things like suctioning and vitamin K injections can wait until a 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…
- A baby is usually more content and cries less. A baby will feel safe and can hear their mother's heartbeat, which is familiar to them.
- With skin to skin Baby is more likely to maintain a stable temperature.
- Heart rates have been found to be more normal in babies who are kept skin to skin.
- A skin to skin newborn baby’s blood sugar is stable.
- Having your baby skin to skin, not only helps strengthen the maternal bond, but most mothers find that they can more easily recognize their babies needs.
- When newborn skin to skin contact is practiced after birth, it allows a baby to familiarise him/herself with their mother's bacteria; this helps prevent allergic diseases.
- One major skin to skin benefits is for premature babies: “skin to skin” contact with preemies can 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 about an amazing occurrence called the breast crawl. Watch the skin on skin video
- Babies who are close to their mothers in this way usually have a more rhythmic breathing pattern.
- Babies who are kept close to their mothers 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 a mom produce more of the hormone Oxytocin, which will improve milk let down and bonding.
- Many mothers have reported a decrease in breast engorgement pain during the first few days when/if they incorporate 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 successful 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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Site by BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr, Studying through Child birth international (CBC, CBD), Author and Mommy of two.