Most pregnant women will be aware of skin to skin time with their baby and will most likely discuss this with their midwife. There are so many benefits to it so why limit it to just after birth? It’s a tool you can use at any time!
Skin to skin is a key part of the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative. This is something that all health visitors and midwives work towards. Skin to skin straight after birth is often referred to as the ‘golden hour’, it is extremely important in supporting mothers to initiate breastfeeding but also to develop a close and loving relationship with their baby.
Skin to skin straight after birth is often referred to as the ‘golden hour’
What are the benefits for skin to skin?
❤️ Relaxes both mother and baby
❤️ Releases oxytocin (love/ happy hormone) and reduces cortisol (stress hormone)
❤️ Helps with bonding and attachment.
❤️ Reduces anxiety in mothers
❤️ Enables baby to acquire mothers good bacteria – essential to build immune system.
❤️ Regulates baby’s heart rate
❤️ Regulates baby’s temperature
❤️ Increases interest to breastfeed
❤️ Encourages baby to latch on naturally
❤️ Can increase milk supply
How does skin to skin work?
Simply strip your baby off to their nappy (or naked if you’re feeling brave) and strip off your top half. Place baby on your chest in a position they feel comfortable in and just watch and wait to see what they do. Place a blanket over you both if the room isn’t warm enough. Why not put some relaxing music on in the background or white noise which could also help to calm your baby.
Skin to skin can be extremely beneficial for babies in neonatal care (often known as kangaroo care) and staff will recommend it takes place as soon as it is safe to do so. According to the charity Bliss, kangaroo care can not only help to establish breastfeeding but it can lead to better weight gain too! Aswel as helping parents to feel closer to their babies and increase their confidence in caring for them.
Add skin to skin to your parenting tool-kit!
If your baby is unsettled at any time, add it to your tool kit along with offering feeds, rocking, cuddling, burping, changing position, changing nappy etc.
If your baby is unsettled at any time, add it to your tool kit
It’s also something partners can do and can be continued right through to childhood.
My 3 year old still loves a naked cuddle on my chest and it often calms her down after a bath when we’re getting ready for bed.
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