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Benefits of Skin to Skin contact with your new born baby

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  • April 30, 2021
  • MKB Team

 When a woman is pregnant, her baby is the closest to the mom ever in life. At this stage a baby is dependent for everything on the mother right from food, warmth, protection and oxygen. No wonder that research has indicated huge benefits for newborns that experience skin to skin care or ‘kangaroo care’, as it is also called. When babies are held tight against their mother’s skin, it is the closest that they can get to the feeling of warmth and security that they experienced when they were in the womb. It is advisable for babies to be in direct contact with mothers for the first few hours after birth. Skin to skin care helps both baby and mother relax and in stabilizing baby’s breathing, body temperature and heart rate.

Studies have also indicated at the long lasting effects of skin to skin care. Research conducted on ten year old children showed better maternal attachment, low maternal anxiety, better reciprocation between child and mother along with considerable cognitive development in children.

No wonder skin to skin care is highly recommended. Here are the 10 best benefits of skin to skin contact.

  1. Better heart and lung function

After babies emerge from the womb, they experience a rapid transition as they have to breathe outside the uterus. Adaptability is enhanced for those exposed to skin to skin contact by their mothers, and they also have normal and stable heart rates as well as breathing rates.

Body temperature Stabilization

When she is pregnant, a mother maintains her baby’s body temperature with her own. But babies cannot maintain the same after their birth. Hence, a mother’s body is always preferred to that of an artificial warmer for a newborn. In the event that the mother is unavailable to do the same because of birth complications, a father can step in for skin to skin contact, even though a mother’s body has a slight advantage over the father’s. But even a father’s body is better than an electric warmer.

  1. Blood Sugar Regulation

Blood sugar is used by babies to gain energy. The placenta provides glucose to them before birth, and mother’s milk does so after birth. Skin to skin contact immediately after birth helps to stabilize a baby’s blood sugar levels.

Introduction to early breastfeeding

Skin to skin contact is a great way to help baby discover her mother’s breast quickly and latch on for breastfeeding. If a baby is in close skin to skin contact with the mother, his natural instincts helps the process of breastfeeding.

Transfer of good bacteria.

Babies also get exposed to good and healthy bacteria from the mother’s body thanks to skin to skin contact. Early exposure is recommended as these healthy bacteria fight allergic diseases in babies.

  1. Lesser Tears

The babies that are separated from their mothers immediately after birth tend to cry more than those held in skin to skin contact. This is attributed to a mammalian distress or reflex call from the young one to be reunited with the mother. It has been observed that most newborns stop crying after being reunited with their mother.

Pain Relief

Studies indicate that babies that experience skin to skin contact feel less pain. Babies that were exposed to half-an-hour of skin care or ‘kangaroo care’ displayed more pain relief symptoms in comparison to the babies exposed to 15 minutes of skin to skin care. Whereas babies exposed to an incubator displayed much lesser pain relief symptoms.

Boosting mother-baby communication

If the mother has her baby in close skin to skin contact, it also helps her understand her baby’s needs better. She understands his signs of hunger and discomfort for example. This not only enhances communication between moms and babies but also improves maternal confidence. The baby develops a sense of security and trust too.

  1. Smooth transition from the womb

Babies given skin to skin contact experience lesser stress as they begin the transition to a new world from the womb. On the other hand, their peers who are placed in a warmer after birth do not. The need to cuddle with mother and be close to her is an essential need for every baby.

  1. Boost in maternal-child bonding

Thankfully, the traditional model where babies were put in warmers and were attended to by the nursing staff while the mother rested is outdated today. Mothers and babies are being encouraged to stay together from birth till the postpartum hospitalization. This helps them to get better acquainted and use all their vital senses to nurture this great relationship. The power of touch is not only good for baby, but for moms too!

            

Was this article helpful for you? Let us know if there is anything specific you want to know about pregnancy or health. We would love to cover it for you!

 

Q&A

You ask and we answer!

 

How long should you do skin to skin with a newborn?

Menka Seshadri, Nagpur.

Families are encouraged to practice Skin-to-Skin for an uninterrupted 60 minutes during the first 12 weeks and beyond. Skin-to-Skin should be given as long as possible and as frequently during the postpartum period, which is typically defined as the first 3 months of life.

 

Why is it important to do skin to skin with newborn?

Sweta Sambrani, Pune.

When a mother holds her baby in skin to skin contact after birth it initiates strong instinctive behaviors in both. The mother will experience a surge of maternal hormones and begin to smell, stroke and engage with her baby.

 

Should dads do skin to skin with newborn?

Anjum Syed, New York.

The benefits of skin-to-skin contact with dad include bonding with their baby, feeling more confident as a father, and feeling a surge of protectiveness toward their baby. Dads can also pass on the same benefits as moms do in terms of helping to regulate their baby's temperature and heartbeat.

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