What is Skin-to-Skin?
The baby is placed bare-skinned onto your skin, on your chest. Any assessments or procedures that are done routinely for newborns can either be delayed for this important time together, or performed while they are on their mother’s chest.
When can I give my baby Skin-to-Skin time?
- Right after birth, or as soon as you are ready. The sooner the better, for you and your baby!
- As much as possible, especially while breastfeeding.
What does Skin-to-Skin do?
- Causes baby to be comforted and cry less.
- Stabilizes baby’s temperature and vital signs.
- Gives baby better oxygenation and blood sugar levels.
- Stimulates milk production.
- Causes your uterus to contract and bleed less.
- Promotes feelings of closeness and protectiveness.
- Provides the best opportunity to get breastfeeding off to a good start.
How does Skin-to-Skin help breastfeeding?
- Baby can smell colostrum at birth. Amniotic fluid has a smell similar to colostrum, so baby is drawn to the breast by the familiar smell.
- Left undisturbed between your breasts, baby may nuzzle down to the breast by himself and latch on unassisted!
- Baby has more opportunity to feed and gains weight better.
- Baby is more aroused to feed.
- Baby breastfeeds better and longer overall.
What are the results from having skin-to-skin time?
- Happier Baby- Babies are comforted by being placed skin to skin with their mother right after birth. They are calmer and cry less. Being skin-to-skin is also painrelieving to the baby, such as during an injection or heel-stick procedure.
- Healthier Baby- When babies are placed skin to skin, they warm up better and learn to stabilize their temperature faster. Babies’ respirations, heart rate, and blood sugar stabilize better and their oxygen levels are highest when skin-to-skin. So you see, you are the best “recovery room” for your new baby!
- Happier Mother- Being skin to skin helps lower your stress hormones, and makes you feel closer to your baby. This is a great time for both of you to get to know one another. The bonding that takes place during skin to skin time lasts long after birth.
- Healthier Mother- The movement of your baby’s body on your body stimulates hormones that cause your uterus to contract and therefore bleed less.
- Better Breastfeeding- When babies are placed undisturbed on their mother’s chest, between the breasts, they often will crawl towards the mother’s nipple and latch unassisted. Babies are able to smell the colostrum in their mother’s breast; since amniotic fluid is similar in smell to colostrum, they are naturally drawn to the breast. In addition, babies’ hand movements at the breast, as well as their sucking, cause the mother’s body to release milk-making hormones. Infants, who have been placed skin-to-skin, gain weight better and breastfeed better and longer. Babies need to be close to the breast to learn to breastfeed. This first skin to skin time is the best opportunity to begin breastfeeding.
The benefits continue
Even after your first skin to skin time, continue to place your baby skin to skin. If baby is fussy, this will help to make him calm. If baby is too sleepy to nurse, this will stimulate and arouse him to breastfeed. Skin to skin time continues to help make baby warm and comforted. And it continues to help make breastfeeding a successful and enjoyable experience.