Mum-of-five and queen of decluttering, Stacey Solomon, recently gushed over her love of skin-to-skin contact with newborn daughter, Belle. Sharing an image of herself cuddling Belle to her Instagram stories, Stacey declared that “skin to skin is my favourite thing…“
This got us thinking about the magic of skin-to-skin contact and why we are totally here for it. Read on for the full lowdown.
What is skin-to-skin contact?
Skin-to-skin contact, also known as kangaroo care, is a practice in which a newborn baby is placed skin-to-skin with the mother or father. This practice has numerous benefits for both the baby and the parents.
How soon should I do it after birth?
Skin-to-skin contact should ideally begin as soon as possible after birth, ideally within the first hour. This is often called the “golden hour” and is a critical time for both mum and baby. During this time, the baby is alert and receptive to bonding, and the mother’s body is primed to release hormones that support breastfeeding and maternal-infant bonding.
However, even if the “golden hour” is missed, skin-to-skin contact is still beneficial and can be started at any time. It is recommended to continue practicing skin-to-skin contact for as long as both mum and baby find it comfortable and enjoyable.
What are the benefits of skin-to-skin contact?
- Regulates body temperature: One of the main benefits of skin-to-skin contact is that it helps regulate the baby’s body temperature. A newborn baby is unable to regulate its own body temperature and needs warmth from its mum or dad. Skin-to-skin contact helps to stabilise the baby’s temperature and prevent hypothermia.
- Promotes bonding: Skin-to-skin contact is an excellent way for parents to bond with their newborn baby. This close physical contact creates a strong emotional bond between parent and child, which is important for the baby’s emotional development.
- Improves breastfeeding: Skin-to-skin contact can help improve breastfeeding rates and success. When a baby is placed skin-to-skin with its mother, it is more likely to breastfeed successfully and for longer periods of time.
- Reduces stress: Skin-to-skin contact has been shown to reduce the stress levels of both the baby and the parent. This is because the physical contact releases hormones that promote relaxation and reduce stress.
- Improves sleep: Skin-to-skin contact can help improve the baby’s sleep patterns. When a baby is held skin-to-skin, it is more likely to fall asleep faster and sleep for longer periods of time.
- Promotes brain development: Skin-to-skin contact can help promote the development of a baby’s brain. The physical contact between parent and child releases hormones that promote brain development and help the baby to learn and grow.
Are there any circumstances where skin-to-skin should be avoided?
While skin-to-skin contact is generally safe and beneficial, there are some situations in which it may not be appropriate or feasible. In some cases, it may not be safe for the baby to be placed skin-to-skin with mum, such as if the mother is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if the baby is premature or has health complications.
It is important for healthcare providers to assess mum and baby individually and make recommendations based on their specific needs and circumstances. In most cases, however, skin-to-skin contact is a safe and beneficial practice for both mum and baby.
Birthbabe does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. the resources on our website are provided for informational purposes only. you should always consult with a healthcare professional regarding any medical diagnoses or treatment options.