During the early days it is often recommended that you and baby have lots of skin-to-skin contact. But what exactly is skin-to-skin and what does it do?
What is skin-to-skin contact?
Skin-to-skin contact is exactly what it says on the tin – it is your bare skin against your babies bare skin, chest to chest.
When should I start skin-to-skin?
Skin-to-skin is recommended for at least the first two hours of your baby’s life, and throughout their life as a baby. Sometimes it can help sooth an upset baby when nothing else will work. However, we understand that not every birthing experience is simple, and in some cases constant skin-to-skin contact post-labour for two hours is not possible. Don’t worry if you didn’t get chance to, you have plenty of time to try it now!
What are the benefits of skin-to-skin contact?
Skin-to-skin contact not only helps you to bond with your baby and make your baby feel safe, it also has extensive benefits for both you and baby, such as:
- Helps to regulate your baby’s heart rate, breathing & temperature
- Alleviates any pain baby may have following medical procedures
- Reduces your stress levels and may help reduce baby blues
- Regulates your own temperature
- Help to increase the initiation and length of your breastfeeding journey
- Improves mother & baby bond
Is skin-to-skin only for mother & baby?
No! Once you’re home your partner may wish to try out skin-to-skin with your baby too. This can also help them to develop a stronger bond and will also help to regulate baby’s heart rate.
If you want to read about the benefits of breastfeeding, click here.
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Wiessinger, D., West, D. and Pitman, T. (2010). The womanly art of breastfeeding. New York: Ballantine Books.