Why skin-to-skin with your newborn baby is important
Tommy’s,we donate 10% of every Baby Bonding Top sold. Tommy’s shared with us the reasons why skin-to-skin is so important. As part of our ongoing partnership with
Q: What is skin to skin?
A: Skin to skin is when you position your baby so their skin is in direct contact with your own. It can be great for you and your baby and can happen straight after birth, including if you’ve had a c-section. You can do skin to skin for as long as you like, and some women find it helpful for their baby’s first feed. If you’re not feeling up to it or don’t want to, your birth partner can also do skin to skin with the baby. You can also keep going with it when you get home, but don’t worry if you don’t feel like doing this straight away when the baby arrives. Everyone is different and your midwife can support you to try skin to skin whenever you feel ready.
Q: What are the benefits of skin to skin?
A: There are lots of benefits to having skin to skin contact with your baby, including: - helping them regulate their breathing and heart rate - keeping them warm - calming and relaxing both mum and baby -stimulating breastmilk supply. Skin to skin can also be great for your baby longer term. Evidence shows that giving babies skin to skin contact during their first year have improved physical growth and development. This is particularly true of babies with a low birth weight.
Kangaroo care for preterm babies
Skin to skin for premature babies is sometimes called kangaroo care. This might seem like a strange term, but it mimics the idea of carrying your baby close to you (like in a pouch). If your baby is in the neonatal unit after being born, you can ask the nurse about trying some skin to skin contact. If your baby has been born before 28-30 weeks, it may not be possible straight away, but as soon as your baby is big enough, you should be supported to do this. Some extra benefits of skin to skin for premature babies include: - reducing stress for your baby, particularly if they are having any procedures - helping with their growth - improving their oxygen levels - possibly reducing the amount of time your baby is in hospital.
Some tips for getting started with skin to skin
The main thing is that you feel comfortable and relaxed when you are having skin to skin time with your baby. Here are some tips to help you settle down: - Make sure you’ve been to the toilet, so you don’t have to get up again straight away - Have glass of water to hand (and some snacks in case you get peckish!) - Make sure you are warm enough and have a blanket or throw nearby just in case - Make sure you are not in pain (as you are still recovering from giving birth) and have taken any pain relief that you need.
Keeping your baby safe
There are a few things to bear in mind to make sure that your baby is safe: - You should avoid skin to skin if you are very tired and feeling sleepy, this is in case you accidentally fall asleep and your baby falls. - For the same reason, you should avoid skin to skin if you have taken any medication that can make you sleepy or if you’ve had any alcohol. - Check that your baby’s head is well supported and that the position allows them to breath easily and doesn’t restrict them in anyway. - Always follow safe sleeping guidance for babies, if you are unsure about this, then do ask your midwife or health visitor. You can also find lots of information on the NHS website