Skin to skin contact with your new-born Skin- to- skin contact is also known as Kangaroo care and has been around for centuries. For most babies, skin-to-skin contact is what they naturally need to calm and warm them after birth. During Skin-to skin contact both you and your baby can produce the hormone oxytocin which helps you feel close to your baby. Skin- to skin can be done immediately after birth, it can also be done if you are having a c-section. The midwife or doctor will place your baby on your chest and dry them off. Your baby is places naked on your chest (they may apply a nappy & a hat). They will place a blanket over you, so you and your baby are kept warm. Enjoy this time, relax together, this is a time where you get a chance to finally meet your baby. Smell them, feel their wiggles & kiss them. The hours after birth are important to help bond and attach with your baby. This first contact is very important for building and maintaining a relationship with your baby. Sometimes it may not be possible to do skin- to -skin contact straight away, if there is concerns about your or your baby’s health etc, but the benefits of skin-to- skin last longer than straight after birth. So it can be done at any stage. It is used regularly for babies in the neonatal unit to help replicate the security they felt in the womb. I would encourage your partner to also take part in skin-to-skin contact to help bond with the baby. Benefits of Skin- to -skin contact
- helps baby to stay warm after birth
- helps relax you after giving birth
- helps stabilise their temperature and adjust to life outside the womb
- helps them feel less stress from being born
- helps stabilise their breathing
- helps regulate their blood sugar
- helps get good bacteria to protect against infection
- helps you to bond
- they hear your familiar heartbeat and smell your familiar smell
- helps with establishing breastfeeding
- helps you recognise your baby’s signals sooner (like hunger, discomfort etc)
It can be done for weeks or months after if you wish and babies seem to love the closeness of it especially after a bath. Its important to turn their heads outwards when doing it, so as not to obstruct their airway.
A button front or easy access nightwear makes it more convenient for immediately after birth. Your partner may wish to wear a button front top too if they want easy access skin – to – skin.
Enjoy the cuddles.