Why go Skin-to-Skin with your newborn Baby?
1. Hormone High - When mom and baby are in contact with each other, skin-to-skin and naked, it releases a rush of hormones, especially endorphin (the happy hormone) and oxytocin (the love hormone). These hormones play a role in everything from breastfeeding to postpartum recovery.
2. Bonding with Baby - Holding her naked newborn on her chest, smelling the skin and touching the soft squishy body activates the maternal instinct in the mom. It allows the mom to engage instinctively with the newborn and develop a strong attachment and baby
3. Baby feels safe and secure - Being next to mum is like being in paradise to your sweet child. Your baby can smell you, hear your heartbeat and voice. This helps to relax and calm your baby. In the early moments of birth, as your baby lies skin to skin with you, your baby’s heart rate and temperature stabilises and adjust better to life outside the womb. Babies will also self-initiate breastfeeding provided they are not affected by any drugs used during labor and birth. This may happen shortly after birth or even longer than an hour. I have seen some babies who were born so gently that they continue in their slumber and only start feeding when they are ready.
Skin to skin has an added benefit for premature babies. In what is dubbed as Kangaroo Care, prolonged skin-to-skin has been shown to help babies gain weight faster and get out of the NICU earlier than babies who did not have the privilege to be with their mothers. Nature’s incubator, that is the mother’s chest, has been shown to be far more effective than any man-made incubator, it appears.
So go mommies (and daddies too), maximize on skin to skin baby snuggle time!
- Bee Ting Ng, Certified HypnoBirthing® Childbirth Educator