There is a lot of positive research that supports mothers and babies being together skin to skin (baby naked, or in a nappy, placed against the mother’s bare chest) straight after birth, uninterrupted, for at least an hour or longer if time allows. The beautiful way skin to skin contact affects your baby are:
- Baby’s skin temperature, heart rate and breathing rate are more likely to be stable and within normal range.
- Baby’s blood glucose levels are more likely to be stable and within normal range.
- Baby is less likely to cry.
- More benefits for breastfed babies:
- Baby is more likely to attach well to the breast
- Baby is more likely to breastfeed effectively
- Baby is more likely to breastfeed exclusively for longer
Here at Buderim Private Hospital, we encourage skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth. If your baby is born by a caesarean section this may commence in the operating theatre or in the recovery room. There is a midwife with you all the time to assist you and your baby when the time is right for skin to skin or the first breastfeed.
You also have the added skills at birth to share your immune system with your baby during this skin to skin contact time. Babies are born with an immature immune system which develops over the first year of life. Bacteria that surround you and your baby in the normal environment are absorbed into your system where you develop antibodies, which are released into your breast milk to protect your baby. This is why it is so important for mothers and babies to remain in close contact with each other as much as possible. This skin to skin contact, plus breastfeeding, are believed to be important in the prevention of allergies.
This is also really important for preterm babies. If your baby is in the Special Care Nursery at any time, and when the paediatrician and nursing staff are happy with your baby’s health, then skin to skin contact is a beautiful way to start the bonding process. Even if your baby is unable to be held, the simple act of putting your hand onto baby’s back or holding their foot helps calm and settle your baby and let them know you are close by.
Skin to skin contact is beneficial for all babies whether they are breast or formula fed, and can be done at any time. It’s a special time to fall in love with your baby all over again, especially if you both have had a bumpy start, the first few days can be exhausting and overwhelming so skin to skin contact can bring you both together again.
Partners have a crucial part to play too, baby’s eyesight is poor at birth and they rely on all the other senses for reassurance, skin to skin reconnects baby to those familiar sounds of the heart beating, rise and fall of the chest, smell of warm skin – all do the job of calming and settling your little one.
To speak with Georgina about your upcoming birth, Call Us to make an appointment on Mondays or Wednesdays.