If you’re an expecting mom, there are some things you may want to know about the power of skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth. Skin-to-skin contact is when your baby is placed on your chest after delivery. When your baby is in the womb it’s dark, warm, and sounds are muffled. Right after birth, your baby is thrust into a loud, bright, and cold environment. One way you can help your newborn adjust to these changes is by keeping the baby close to you following delivery.
The benefits of skin-to-skin contact are numerous, but here are some top highlights:
- Can help baby regulate body temperature. Babies don’t have the ability to regulate their body temperature as well as adults. This is why we always see infants swaddled and wearing hats! Your body heat can transfer to your newborn during skin-to-skin contact, helping to keep them warm.
- Can help initiate breastfeeding. When babies are placed on their mother’s chest after birth, their natural instincts can kick in and they may start to breastfeed right away. Babies have the ability to find the nipple on their own, even though their eye sight isn’t perfect yet. If you’d like to see this in action watch this video by UNICEF of a newborn baby making his way to his mother’s breast and start breastfeeding.
- Helps mom and baby communicate. When baby is placed on the mother’s chest after birth, mom can learn her baby’s clues easily. She can observe how her baby reacts to being hungry, or other signs of discomfort. In turn, this can boost mom’s confidence and create trust between mom and baby!
- Dads can participate too! When dads get involved with skin-to-skin contact, it can also be good for baby. The direct touch with skin can be used as a soothing method for babies and can help reduce stress and crying.