Newborn Skin to Skin Contact
Skin-to-Skin Contact and its benefits
A welcoming of a new baby is such an exciting time for parents. One of the most rewarding feelings is when you get to hold your baby for the first time. You may have heard of the skin-to-skin contact that occurs when a baby is born. Skin-to-skin contact which is also known as kangaroo care has a variety of benefits for the mother and baby. According to Dr. Nils Bergman, senior medical superintendent of Mowbray Maternity Hospital in Cape Town, Africa, “physiology and research provide overwhelming evidence that kangaroo mother care is not only safe but superior to the use of technology such as incubators”.
Here are several benefits of skin-to-skin contact:
Elevated mental development
According to a Canadian study published in the Acta Pediatrica journal, preemies who obtained skin-to-skin contact showed better brain functioning as an adolescent compared to adolescents born at term that were placed in incubators. Skin-to-skin contact stabilizes heart rate, oxygenation, improves sleep, and provides better brain development.
Better adaptation to the environment
Babies have adjusted to being inside their mother’s womb. When a baby is born one of the main concerns is their adaption to their environment, more importantly, the thermal regulation. The great news is that skin-to-skin contact provides the ability to obtain the same temperature as the womb. Therefore, this would provide the baby to have a better transition to their new environment.
Boosts baby to transition to breastfeeding
Skin-to-skin contact provides the newborn a chance to seek out the nipple in order to start the transition to breastfeeding especially as they have an intensified sense of smell. According to a study published in Neonatal Network, moms who practice skin-to-skin were more likely to breastfeed exclusively.
Decreased stress and pain
If you practice at least 10 minutes of skin-to-skin contact, it provides you the time and relaxation to bond with your baby; however, it also decreases the levels of the stress hormone cortisol and releases oxytocin for the baby. Oxytocin stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system that provide the baby a feeling of safety.
Provides the ability to heightened bonding with dad
From their time in the womb, babies hear their father’s voice. The voice is soothing for the baby due to it being a constant in their life. However, skin-to-skin contact is also a bonding mechanism for the baby and their father. It provides the baby to further feel at ease and provides strength in their connection.
There has been a high amount of research done on the benefits of skin-to-skin contact right after the birth of a baby. However, these benefits transfer onto the child’s developmental stages and provide you the ability to have a close bond with your child right away. Make sure you get to hold your baby close and provide her that closeness throughout infancy.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch- Leo Buscaglia.”
Kangaroo Care: The Benefits of Skin-to-Skin Contact. (2005). Parents. Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/baby/care/newborn/kangaroo-care-the-importance-of-a-parents-touch/
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