Skin to skin contact while feeding your baby
There is a growing body of evidence that skin-to-skin contact after the birth helps babies and their mothers in many ways. It:
- 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 is a great opportunity for mums and dads to begin and develop close and loving relationships with their baby.
Additional benefits for babies in the neonatal unit:
- Improves oxygen saturation
- Reduces cortisol (stress) levels particularly following painful procedures
- Encourages pre-feeding behaviour
- Assists with growth
- May reduce hospital stay
- If the mother expresses following a period of skin-to-skin contact, her milk volume will improve and the milk expressed will contain the most up-to-date antibodies