Skin-to-skin contact means that your little one lies like a tiny frog on your belly wearing only diapers, with airways and nose unobstructed. Your newborn will feel the warmth of your body, hear your heartbeat (as throughout the pregnancy) and smell your scent. Lying in this manner immediately after birth, or as soon as possible, until baby sucks or falls asleep is good for breastfeeding. According to several studies, holding your baby skin-to-skin also fosters the connection between mother and baby, and father/parent not giving birth and baby.
Skin-to-skin immediately after birth
These days, we recommend holding your newborn skin-to-skin immediately after birth and until your infant has sucked on the breast or fallen asleep. If you are separated—meaning that mother and baby are separated for medical reasons—the infant can lie skin-to-skin with the father/parent not giving birth if possible. If you cannot have your baby close to you in the beginning, hold your baby skin-to-skin as soon as possible.
Why skin-to-skin is good for baby
Holding your baby skin-to-skin starts a good circle. Baby keeps warm, cries less and uses less blood sugar reserves. Studies also show that infants more quickly start to suck on the breast, require less baby formula, are more frequently breastfed exclusively and for longer, and mothers develop fewer breast complications. Studies also indicate that skin-to-skin contact promotes bonding.
Skin-to-skin safety means that baby’s airways and nose is unobstructed. You must be awake and constantly monitor your infant. If you sleep, another adult must make sure that the infant’s airways are free when you are lying skin-to-skin.
In conclusion, by holding your little one skin-to-skin—both in the beginning and later—you promote both nursing and the connection between you and your baby.
The same applies for bonding with the father/co-parent if the baby lies with this person directly after birth.