To sum up this post I'll just say: Skin-to-skin can make almost anything better.
What do I mean when I say skin-to-skin? I mean that a naked or diapered newborn baby is put to the skin of the person who just birthed the baby.
Here are 10 facts about skin-to-skin that you should know:
Holding your baby skin-to-skin while painful procedures are being done may reduce the newborn's perception of the pain.
Early skin-to-skin may increase the likelihood of successful breastfeeding for up to four months and promote longer feeding durations at each session.
In countries without high-tech neonatal intensive care for low-birth-weight infants, skin-to-skin (aka Kangaroo Care) was found to decrease infant morbidity from infection, fever or respiratory issues and to significantly improve birth weight, body length, head circumference, and breastfeeding.
Exposure to the bacteria found on your skin can help protect your newborn from certain infections and contribute to positive gut bacteria.
When newborns are held skin-to-skin either parent, after being birthed via cesarean, it can help your baby regulate their body temperature and increase their glucose levels faster than to babies who are treated in a warmer.
Mom, your oxytocin increases when your newborn is put skin-to-skin and when they massage your breast or suckle. Oxytocin is the hormone that promotes maternal bonding and love. It also helps your uterus contract back down to size and promotes milk production.
Mothers who held their newborns skin-to-skin at birth, at 3 months, kissed their babies more often and spent more time looking at their faces than mothers who did not have skin-to-skin contact.
Touch and motion, both provided by skin-to-skin, are the most critical factors for brain development in infants.
Babies held skin-to-skin for one to two hours after birth were able to emotionally self-regulate better at one year. They were frustrated less often during play and were better able to calm themselves. Your self-regulation of emotions after birth may teach your child how to self-regulate their emotions.
The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that healthy newborns, who do not require medical intervention, be left skin-to-skin until they have completed their first breastfeeding session.
In our Lamaze Classes, we talk about the importance of skin-to-skin care and how to talk to your care provider and place of birth about your wishes.