When it comes to a new baby, whether you have previous children or not, many people have the same fears. Nurturing another human being whose life depends on you is a big deal, and regardless of how much preparation you attempt, you will always feel a little bit of fear in your capabilities. We have so much information at our fingertips to help us prepare for any situation in life, but the problem with the information we are given is that it is often conflicting with other information. One practice that has been gaining popularity over the past several years is skin-to-skin contact between newborns and their parents and it’s gaining popularity for good reason. Skin-to-skin contact is when a baby or newborn is held naked against their mom or dad’s skin mimicking the experience and security that they had in their mom’s womb. This is something that is vital directly after birth when possible and the need and benefits continue far beyond the hospital.
There are many benefits with skin-to-skin contact including improvement in heart and lung function, stabilization of body temperature, regulation of blood sugar, initiation of breastfeeding, transfer of good bacteria, reduction in crying, relief from pain, enhancement of parent-baby communication, easy transition from the womb, and boost in maternal/paternal bonding. While all these benefits are amazing, lets dive into a few.
Improvement in heart and lung function: The transition from the womb to the world is traumatic to a baby that has been living in the comfort and protection of their mom. This transition can be difficult and hard to adapt to, however when newborns experience skin-to-skin contact soon after birth they are more likely to adapt quicker.
Stabilization of body temperature: When newborns enter the world, they lack the ability to regulate their body temperature well. Studies show that skin-to-skin contact with their mother/father is more effective than the artificial warmers that they are placed in at the hospital, with the mother’s temperature being slightl