Skin-to-skin contact is an important part of your breastfeeding journey. Doctors today are pushing skin-to-sin more than ever because studies show it matters. Newborns are dependent on you and by having their mama close to them through skin-to-skin is the best way to allow them to hear, feel, smell, and see you (even though their vision isn’t the best). Think about it: you’ve been home for your baby for 9 months and now baby is out in the big world (no pressure). You are their sole source of comfort.
Skin-to-skin keeps your baby happy and healthy, and believe it or not it can help with pain relief. So if your baby has to have a heel prick or some other procedure just your presence can help to alleviate some of the pain.
What is skin-to-skin?
Skin-to-skin is when a baby is immediately placed on their mother after birth (healthy c-section and vaginal births). Provided there are no issues, your baby will be given to you so you can cuddle and bond. In most hospitals, skin-to-skin is done before any other procedures, including getting the weight, height, etc., of your baby. This is your time (and your spouse’s – yes men can do skin-to-skin also) to bond with baby from the beginning.
The real benefit of skin-to-skin, aside from a happier baby, is a healthier baby and mom. One study found that babies separated from their moms cried 10 times more often.
Babies who are placed skin-to-skin right after birth warm up faster, cry less, stay warm longer, and their respiratory. In fact, a baby’s blood sugar levels are more stable and oxygen levels are highest when they’re skin-to-skin.
But the benefits don’t just stop there. You’ll be happier with skin-to-skin too. Study after study has proven that the old school method of putting babies in a nursery is stressful for mom and baby. When you do skin-to-skin with your baby hormones that help your uterus contract, reduce blood loss, and aid in milk production all kick into gear.
Breastfeeding Is Made Easier With Skin-to-Skin
Although breastfeeding is natural, it isn’t always easy. Skin-to-skin helps to make the transition to breastfeeding easier for mom and baby by accommodating the natural set-up needed for breastfeeding. In your early breastfeeding days, while you and your baby are getting used to it, you might want to start all of your breastfeeding sessions with skin-to-skin. When a baby is placed on their mom’s chest, they begin to bob their chin and push with their feet. All of these are natural reflexes babies use to look for food.
Listen, parenting isn’t easy. We know that. And suddenly becoming responsible for an entirely new person can be overwhelming, but following natural approaches to caring for your baby can help ease the stress on both mom and baby and make your experience a positive one.