Skin to Skin

Skin to Skin
Everyone has probably heard or been told it's important to do skin to skin with their baby?

But why is it soo important?

The amount of time spent in uninterrupted skin to skin contact at birth and in the days following is a critical component to successful breastfeeding.

Research has shown that skin to skin:

● calms and relaxes both mother and baby
● regulates the baby’s heart rate and breathing, helping them to better adapt to life outside the womb
● stimulates digestion and an interest in feeding
● regulates temperature
● enables colonisation of the baby’s skin with the mother’s friendly bacteria, thus
providing protection against infection
● stimulates the release of hormones to support breastfeeding and mothering.

Skin-to-skin contact also provides benefits for babies in the neonatal unit, in that it:
● improves oxygen saturation
● reduces cortisol (stress) levels, particularly following painful procedures
● encourages pre-feeding behavior
● assists with growth
● may reduce hospital stay
● improves milk volume if the mother expresses following a period of skin-to-skin contact, with the expressed milk containing the most up-to-date antibodies.

For the best chance of Breastfeeding Success, research suggests that babies have at least one hour of uninterrupted skin to skin and their first breastfeed during this time.
Continuing skin to skin after this time is also equally important.

Julia Daly
IBCLC
www.morethanmilk.co.nz

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