Skin-to-skin has become a birth plan buzzword. From boosting breastfeeding
to brain growth, there are numerous advantages of skin-to-skin contact
among infants and mothers.
Let’s learn more about how skin to skin can be helpful!
Newborns love to be nestled and held. However, recent evidence proposes
that being in skin-to-skin contact with a parent accomplishes
something beyond satisfying the child. It can help support
breastfeeding issues, forestall hypoglycemia and other baby troubles,
lessen your pain, settle premature babies, and so much more.
That is quite impressive for something so low-tech, right?
Skin-to-skin contact, also known as kangaroo
care, is the practice of placing your baby, belly down,
directly on your or your partner's bare chest. Your
baby’s skin has direct contact with your or your partner’s skin.
Skin-to-skin contact can be practiced by both mothers
and fathers and can begin shortly after the baby is born and
continued throughout infancy.
Following birth, there are three steps to take to give
skin-to-skin to your newborn:
Have somebody place your naked infant on your uncovered chest so
you two are settled chest-to-chest.
Turn your baby's face sideways in a place that keeps the airway
Stay in this position for at least an hour before healthcare staff
take the baby to be weighed and measured.
The first hour after childbirth is known as the Sacred
Hour (and it truly is!). It is a special bonding
time that starts when your child is set skin-to-skin on your
chest just after delivery.
This helps with the transition from fetal to newborn
Babies who get this sacred hour have greater
respiratory, temperature, and glucose stability and significantly
Mothers who get to hold their newborns skin to skin
after birth have increased maternal behaviors, show more
confidence in caring for their babies and breastfeed for longer durations.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that
healthy infants be placed and remain in direct skin-to-skin
contact with their mothers immediately after delivery
until the first feeding is accomplished. Even if you have a
C-section this is still possible!
Studies prove the importance of Skin to Skin even after the first hour of
Besides stimulating hormones to support breastfeeding, the skin to skin
contact provides the following benefits to both baby and mommy:
Calms and relaxes both mother and child
Regulates the infant's pulse and breathing, assisting them with
adjusting to life outside the mother's womb
It makes the baby cry less often
Empowers colonization of the baby's skin with the mother's friendly
bacteria, consequently giving safety against infection
Helps regulate babies temperature
Strengthens immune system
Moms who did skin to skin with their baby in the first month after delivery
reported less symptoms of depression.
How? Well, skin to skin can increase oxytocin release
from mom. Remember oxytocin is the “love hormone” and
this may help protect against postpartum depression. Even if you are not
breastfeeding, you can still get the benefits of oxytocin with skin to
Researchers found that moms who provided skin to skin the first month had
lower cortisol levels than mothers who did not have skin-to-skin contact
with their baby. Babies who had skin to skin also had lower cortisol
levels! Cortisol is the main hormone involved in stress. Decreased cortisol
shows improvement in stress levels in both mom and baby who did skin to
Should Partners do Skin-to-Skin Contact with Their Infants?
YES! Partners, too, feel a surge of hormones and happiness.
Bonding with their baby, becoming more secure as a parent, and feeling a
burst of affection toward their baby are all advantages of skin-to-skin
contact for partners.
Even immediately after birth, if mom is unable to provide skin to skin,
studies have shown that partners providing skin to skin can also provide
benefits for the baby!
Partners will benefit from the same advantages as moms do to regulate their
baby's temperature and pulse. In addition, when a partner is bonding with
the baby one-on-one, Mom will have some rest.
It is not just the skin-to-skin touch that occurs immediately after birth
that is helpful. Most doctors advise giving it at least three
months for full-term babies and six months for premature babies.
Aim for 1 hour once or twice a day!
You may continue skin-to-skin contact for months if your baby is content.
It has many advantages for both you and your baby!
Hold your baby close from the beginning and continue keeping your child
close all through the early stages. The power of touch is beneficial for
your infant—and useful for you as well!