The Benefits of Skin to Skin Contact
The benefits of skin-to-skin contact
The best place for a newborn baby to be is with its mother—skin-to-skin. Research shows that placing naked newborns directly on their mother’s chest has significant benefits for both the mom and baby.
A head start to health
The advantages of this immediate, close contact start with easing the stress of being born. Babies placed this way cry less and sleep more than those who don’t get this type of care. It also promotes closeness and bonding between mother and baby.
Babies who get early skin-to-skin contact also:
• Have more stable temperatures, heart rates and blood pressure.
• Breathe at a steadier rate.
• Start breastfeeding earlier and are more likely to nurse successfully.
• Have healthier blood sugar levels.
• Are more likely to receive beneficial bacteria from their mothers. All babies become colonized with bacteria soon after birth. Both breast feeding and skin-to-skin contact encourage colonization with bacteria from the baby’s own mom, rather than from other caregivers or the environment. Beneficial bacterial help babies’ digestion and may protect against illnesses and allergies.
In a good place
At Community, we put healthy newborns skin-to-skin with their mothers immediately after birth, even if they are born by cesarean section. Some babies with health problems can be also placed this way. In fact, babies held skin-to-skin are calmer and better able to tolerate painful procedures such as heel sticks and injections.