Skin-to-skin contact with your newborn can result in 10 times less crying.
Skin-to-skin contact, also known as kangaroo care, refers to placing a baby on their front in contact with the mother’s chest. Skin-to-skin contact should ideally start at birth but is helpful at any time. All mothers and babies can benefit from skin-to-skin contact, regardless of the feeding method. Fathers can also provide skin‑to‑skin contact.
Babies who are separated from their mothers experience profound stress; studies have shown that babies who are removed from their mothers in the hospital cry 10 times more than those left skin-to-skin. Immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth creates a unique bonding and can protect infants against infection through exposure to the mother’s microflora. It also plays an important role in the prevention of allergic diseases for the babies.
Skin-to-skin contact should be uninterrupted and unhurried, allowing the baby to progress through the steps of attachment. The baby can wear a nappy and hat for comfort and warmth.
Benefits of skin-to-skin contact
More stable and normal skin temperature
More stable and normal heart rate and blood pressure
Maintain blood sugar level
Feel less pain during painful medical procedure
Less likely to cry
Less likely to have breastfeeding problems
More likely to latch on well
Are more likely to breastfeed exclusively longer
Protection against infection through exposure to maternal microflora
Help prevent allergic diseases
Higher oxytocin levels to stimulate milk production
Better milk flow
Increased milk production
It is good to highlight in your birthplan that you would like skin-to-skin contact with your baby as soon as possible after birth – be it a vaginal delivery or a caesarean section – if conditions allow.
Prepared by the Maternity Department at the Matilda International Hospital. www.matilda.org
This article appeared in Playtimes June Issue 2018