Skin-to-skin contact is so important for both babies and parents. It helps with bonding, communication, and happiness and has been proven to help babies sleep better. While many parents are familiar with skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, it can also be beneficial at home as your baby grows. Keep reading to learn more about why skin-to-skin contact is essential and how to make the most of it.

Benefits of Skin-to-Skin Contact

Skin-to-skin contact is defined as contact directly between your and your baby’s skin. This means no blankets or clothing between the two of you. It is beneficial for your baby to receive skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and at home as they grow.

Benefits for Babies and Parents

There are many benefits to both the baby and parent from skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth. It can help stabilize the baby’s body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. It also allows the baby to colonize bacteria from their parent’s skin which helps prevent allergies. Additionally, skin-to-skin contact helps form an emotional bond between parent and baby and reduces stress levels for both. If the parent chooses to breastfeed, skin-to-skin contact can help facilitate this process.

Benefits for Premature Babies

Skin-to-skin contact can be especially beneficial for babies that are born prematurely. Many hospitals will provide means for premature babies to spend extended periods of time close to their parent’s skin to help regulate their body temperature and other vitals. Additionally, it can improve sleep, reduce stress, increase weight gain, decrease infections, and ultimately lead to an earlier discharge from specialty care units for premature babies.

Using Skin-to-Skin Contact

Skin-to-skin contact between a baby and their parent has many benefits both immediately after birth and later on at home as they grow. Here are some ways you can enjoy skin-to-skin contact with your child during each of these time periods.

After a Natural Birth

After a natural birth, it is encouraged to place the baby directly onto the parent’s chest with their head turned to the side, ensuring their airways are open. Remember that direct contact with the baby’s skin is essential. The baby should remain close to its parent’s body for as long as possible to reap the benefits of immediate skin-to-skin contact. If your baby is stable and doing well, you can request your doctor hold off on health checks for an hour or two so you can continue direct contact with your new baby.

After a C-Section

While each c-section case is unique, skin-to-skin contact is absolutely possible in these situations. While some parents may be able to hold their baby immediately in the surgery room, others may need to wait until they are in recovery for the safety of both the mother and baby. If skin-to-skin contact is important to you, work with your delivery team to ensure it is possible. Immediate skin-to-skin contact with a non-delivering parent is just as beneficial and can be a good option for situations where the mother cannot immediately hold their baby.

At Home

Skin-to-skin contact is equally as crucial in the weeks and months following the birth of a new baby. The benefits we discussed above do not stop when you leave the hospital. We recommend incorporating an hour of skin-to-skin contact with your baby into your routine every day. The easiest way to do this is to hold your baby against your chest while in their diaper. Other parents enjoy skin-to-skin time in the bathtub as well. While your baby is against your skin, you can expect them to go through a full sleep and wake cycle, which helps their system stabilize.

Call Petite Dreamers Today

You want to have the healthiest and most rewarding time raising your child. If you’re struggling with baby’s sleep, it can make everyone in the home stressed. Thankfully, a sleep consultant can help. Contact Petite Dreamers to get started.