Skin to skin contact means holding your baby against your bare chest with them naked or dressed only in a nappy. Skin to skin helps your baby feel safe and secure and helps to begin breastfeeding by stimulating the mothers milk supply. It is a fantastic way to bond and will help your baby to adjust to new surroundings, calm their breathing and stay warm and close. Its important for small and premature babies as it helps their brain to develop and for them to grow and put on weight.
Its also a great way of dads and partners to bond with your baby and they are encouraged to have skin to skin as well.
Skin to skin doesn't have to be just for the first few hours, if you are breast or bottle feeding, skin to skin will help your baby to thrive throughout their first year.
The benefits of skin to skin are;
It makes your baby feel safe and secure.
It helps you bond with your baby.
It keeps your baby warm.
It helps protect your baby from infection.
It encourages your baby to look for the breast and want to breastfeed.
Helping to stabilise your baby’s body temperature and blood glucose levels.
Reduced crying in babies.
Skin to skin immediately after birth can continue for as long as you wish. The midwives will make sure you have plenty of time with your new baby and washing and changing dressings will come afterwards.
If for any reason you are unable to have skin to skin, your partner can be the one that has skin to skin with your until you can return to that lovely cuddle.
Who can Help?
If you feel worried and want more advice you can speak to your midwife.
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by callingJust One Numberon0300 300 0123or textingParentlineon07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on07480 635060for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.