What Is the "Skin-to-Skin" Method?
Skin-to-skin means your baby is placed belly-down, directly on your chest, right after your baby is born. At birth, your baby will be dried, capped, and a warm blanket will cover both of you as your baby is placed unwrapped on your chest. You will be allowed time with your baby to cuddle and breastfeed. This time is very special for both of you - it's the best way to begin! Skin-to-skin contact is encouraged throughout the hospital stay for every mother and baby as it allows you and your baby to get to know each other and provides important health benefits.
Your baby's weight will be delayed until after this first bonding. If there are any reasons that skin-to-skin cannot happen after birth, it will start as soon as possible.
Many studies show that skin-to-skin babies breastfeed better, and up to six weeks longer. If your baby is kept skin-to-skin, it is easier to know when to feed them, especially if they are sleepy.
Your chest is the best place for your baby to adjust to the "outside world". Skin-to-skin babies stay calmer, warmer have better blood sugars and cry less than crib or swaddled babies.
Skin-to-skin cuddling can affect your relationship with your baby. Even in the first days after birth, skin-to-skin moms touch and cuddle their babies more often. Skin-to-skin moms have been known to cuddle year-old babies when visiting their doctor.
Keep cuddling skin-to-skin at home. All the skin-to-skin benefits continue well after birth. Fathers can also snuggle. If both parents practice skin-to-skin, babies stay calm and cozy.
Multiple studies over the past 30 years show the benefits of skin-to-skin contact.
Ask your Family Birth Center nurse if you have any questions about skin-to-skin.
Information courtesy of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition, Weston, MA - www.massbfc.org.