If you have not heard yet about the amazing benefits of skin to skin contact, we are here to tell you! Skin to skin contact is shown to have numerous benefits for mother and baby.
Directly following birth many opt to have their baby put on their chest. This first contact with you baby releases a strong wave of maternal hormones. Skin to skin contact also encourages early latching on to the breast. It is recommended for babies to have their first feeding relatively soon to lessen breastfeeding problems in the future. Early feeding promotes the baby’s physical development as well.
Following birth, babies who receive skin to skin contact with their mother enter a state of relaxation. Some babies will wake up, open their eyes or respond to their mother’s voice. Opening of their eyes will also encourage emotional and social development of babies.
Babies who are exposed to skin to skin contact can better absorb and digest nutrients, better maintain their body temperature, cry less, have better weight gain, a more stable heartbeat and breathing, higher oxygen levels and stronger immune systems.
Mothers have not only reported experiencing a more positive breastfeeding experience but improved milk production as well. Mothers can have reduced postpartum bleeding and a lower risk of postpartum depression too.
Although, skin to skin contact isn’t just for mom and baby. Fathers can also do skin to skin contact by placing their undressed baby on their bare chest. This practice will help regulate a newborns body temperature. Babies lose body heat rapidly since they do not yet have the skills to keep themselves warm, so skin to skin with a parent is a great option. Thermoregulation (the process which allows the body to maintain its core temperature, even with environmental temperature changes) is a common problem with “premies” (or babies born prematurely). A mother’s breast automatically adjusts to cool down or warm a baby up. Touch is further a great way to form an attachment to your new little one.
When babies are not spending their energy on regulating their body temperature, this energy can go to a baby’s growth instead, so babies can experience better weight gain. This is especially vial for premature babies.
Skin to skin contact has even been shown to reduce heart and breathing episodes by 75 percent. Even pain has been shown to be reduced through skin to skin contact. And who doesn’t want a baby that cries less?
Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone has shown to decrease after 20 minutes of skin to skin contact. So, your baby will not be calmer by have improved digestion (vis-à-vis less gastrointestinal problems and better absorption and digestion of nutrients).
Skin to skin contact with mom and her mature immune system also pass antibodies through the skin and breast milk to babies.
And what does mom and dad want after a long labor more than sleep. Most infants with skin to skin contact fall asleep easily and achieve deep sleep. Good sleep is good for accelerating brain growth and maturation in babies.
Don’t forget if your baby sleeps better, so do you. So get more skin to skin contact and better sleep with Storybook massages after birth and as your little one grows.