2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-07-31 02:08
The benefits of skin-to-skin contact between parent and baby are many. We explain why and we give you tips to practice it.
The benefits of skin-to-skin contact
Touch being baby's first form of communication, it fulfills a fundamental need and brings him unparalleled well-being. While rocking baby comforts him because he's snuggled up to you, there's nothing like skin-to-skin contact to encourage even more meaningful bonding and help baby have a positive and reassuring emotional journey.
The many benefits of skin-to-skin contact include:
- When baby is against you, he recognizes the sensations and sounds around him during pregnancy, such as your heartbeat, making it easier to transition from your womb to the outside world.
- Skin-to-skin contact helps you get to know this long-awaited new baby and promotes bonding.
- This touch without clothing barrier puts baby in contact with your bacteria, which allows him to develop his own defenses more quickly.
- Early skin-to-skin contact after birth can promote a good start to breastfeeding.
- The warmth of your skin against theirs can ease a baby's colic and help them fall asleep.
- For babies born prematurely, regular skin-to-skin contact helps babies regulate their temperature better, gain weight faster, breathe and sleep better. It also allows the mother to increase her milk production to feed baby adequately.
When and how to practice skin-to-skin contact
Mom and dad should do skin-to-skin as often as they want since there is no negative effect and the benefits are multiple for both a full-term baby and a premature baby. Here are some tips to help you practice skin-to-skin contact with baby to get the most benefits for both baby and parent.
- From birth, put baby on your abdomen so that he can feel reassured after the ordeal of childbirth and so that he can hear your heartbeat and recognize your smell. A full-term baby may even squirm on his own to get to your breast for his first feed.
- If baby was born prematurely and is hospitalized in the neonatal unit, do not hesitate to go to his bedside to hold him against you, skin to skin, to help him take better faster. Rock him like this for at least an hour a day. You may also choose to practice kangaroo care.
- Once back home,practice skin-to-skin contact or kangaroo care as often as possible, especially when baby needs comfort or seems to be hurting somewhere.
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