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What is Skin-to-Skin Contact?

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 09:41pm
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Skin-to-Skin contact is holding or laying your baby on your chest or abdomen with your baby just wearing his diaper. This can be done immediately after your baby is born and in the weeks and months following his birth. You can put a light receiving blanket over baby.  Both mom and dad can provide skin-to-skin contact with baby.

Skin-to-skin contact has many benefits for your baby, including babies that were premature.  Immediately following birth, it helps your baby adjust to the world around her.  She is warmed by your body heat, her heart rate and breathing stabilize and her presence helps to release Oxytocin, a hormone in Mom’s body that will help in breastfeeding and keep Mom’s uterus contracted.  Your baby’s senses are heightened immediately following birth; she will smell her mom’s body, look at her parents, hear their voices and feel their touch.  Skin-to-skin contact in the weeks and months following birth continues to offer benefits to your baby such as:

  • Helps increase breast milk supply as frequent skin-to-skin contact allows baby frequent access to breastfeed
  • Baby has an increased ability to keep warm
  • Increased comfort from the warmth of your body, hearing your heartbeat and closeness of your voice
  • Improved weight gain
  • Increased baby-parent bonding
  • Improved oxygen levels in baby
  • Continued improvement in baby’s breathing patterns and heart rate
  • May help calm baby during painful procedures
     

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