July 4, 2023
Skin-to-skin contact is recommended as soon as possible after delivery, and for as long as both the mother and baby are comfortable, because it provides so many benefits for both you and your newborn. Skin-to-skin contact can help:
- Regulates body temperature: Newborns are not able to regulate their body temperature effectively, and they may get cold or overheated quickly. Skin-to-skin contact helps regulate a baby’s body temperature because the parent’s body provides warmth when the baby is cold and cooling when the baby is overheated. Studies have shown that babies held skin-to-skin stabilize their body temperature faster than those who are swaddled.
- Promotes bonding and attachment: Skin-to-skin contact promotes bonding and attachment between the parent and the newborn. Holding the baby close to the chest stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone that is associated with feelings of love, trust, and bonding. This bond is crucial for the baby’s development and well-being.
- Improves breastfeeding: Skin-to-skin contact helps promote breastfeeding because it helps stimulate the release of hormones that produce milk, such as prolactin and oxytocin. It also helps the baby to locate the breast and latch on properly. Studies have shown that mothers who practice skin-to-skin contact are more likely to breastfeed their babies exclusively for a longer period.
- Reduces stress and crying: Newborns experience stress when they are separated from their parents. Skin-to-skin contact reduces stress levels and promotes calmness, which helps reduce crying in babies. Holding the baby close to the chest and talking or singing to the baby helps them feel safe and secure.
- Enhances brain development: Skin-to-skin contact is crucial for the baby’s brain development. The stimulation from the parent’s touch, voice, and smell helps to activate the baby’s brain and promote neural development. Studies have shown that babies held skin-to-skin have better cognitive and motor development than those who are not.
In conclusion, skin-to-skin contact is vital for a newborn baby’s health and well-being. It promotes bonding and attachment, regulates body temperature, improves breastfeeding, reduces stress and crying, and enhances brain development. Parents should be encouraged to practice skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after delivery and for as long as they are comfortable.