Why You Should Practice Skin to Skin After Birthby Elizabeth MacDonald
Childbirth is raw and real. It is emotional and sometimes dirty. Childbirth is also perfection. A woman's body is a complete functioning art that can be described as miraculous. We grow human beings. We also have an innate sense of protecting these new beings.
Throughout the decades, our commercialized-society has tried to strip us of this capability and plant seeds of doubt within our minds. But moms are now embracing themselves, their instincts, their capabilities, and the true science that backs what we all already know. Gone are the days when a newborn should be wiped down and swaddled before being held. Science backs what moms knew: the absolute best place for a baby immediately after birth is on Mom's bare chest.
Skin to skin shouldn't end as you leave the hospital, though. There are many reasons that you should continue practicing it throughout your baby's infancy and toddlerhood.
Why You Should Practice Skin-to-Skin After Birth
- Baby cries less, soothes easier, and feels safer
- Baby hears your heartbeat
- Heartrates have been found to be more normal in babies who are kept skin to skin
- Stabilizes blood sugar
- Strengthens a mother’s instincts with reading a baby’s cues
- Allergies and illnesses can be prevented in early hours after birth by the bacteria found on the mother’s skin. That bacteria is passed to the baby and protects him.
- Preemies held skin to skin have a reduced need for oxygen intake
- One hour of skin to skin increases the likelihood of a good latch for breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding success rates increase and milk supply benefits
- The hormone oxytocin is produced in a heavier amount while skin to skin, which improves milk let down and bonding
Early skin to skin contact is very important and the benefits speak for themselves.
Any time a baby shows signs of illness or pain (teething, fever, a cold) skin to skin can help! Getting into a lukewarm bath together while chest to chest is a great option to help soothe a baby too!