Benefits of Skin to Skin Time
Skin to Skin & Breastfeeding
When you first got pregnant, if you are anything like me, you threw yourself into research. You wanted to learn all about pregnancy. What are you going to experience and what birth may be like. As I was trying to absorb this information with the, ever so famous, mommy brain, I kept reading about skin-to-skin time after delivery. The thought of skin-to-skin time with your baby after delivery sounds like a calming and peaceful time but did you know that there are benefits to skin-to-skin time? These benefits exist right after birth and research shows us that skin-to-skin time weeks after birth still has several benefits.
So let’s dive into those benefits…
When you are in the delivery room there are usually some aids to help you with delivery and a little spot all made up for your newborn. This little bed is called a radiant warmer or open incubator. The purpose is to warm up your baby after delivery and it provides a safe space for the pediatrician to check out your baby. In recent years it has become part of many moms’ birth plans to have the exam of their newborn take place while their baby is on their chest. One of the benefits of skin-to-skin is taking place at this time (immediately after delivery). Mom’s chest will warm up to give the baby the warmth that it needs. It is even proven, through research, that a mother’s chest is more effective at warming her infant than that radiant warmer is. Other immediate benefits include regulating the infant’s breathing rate, blood sugar, heart rate and lowering the mom’s stress hormone, and promoting healing.
“Take off EVERYTHING. No mittens, no hat, just a diaper”
As I mentioned earlier, while there are so many benefits immediately after delivery, there are also benefits within the next two weeks that will help both mom and her baby. Skin-to-skin time can increase milk supply. Yes, I said it!! Some increased skin-to-skin time can increase your milk supply. There are two reasons that this works. One, when a mom and her baby are skin-to-skin, the mother’s oxytocin levels (the love hormone) are increased, thus leading to an increased milk supply. Two, when there is an increase in skin-to-skin time there can be more responsive nursing and the baby will have more “access” to the breast. This leads to baby-led breastfeeding and your newborn may exhibit signs of the “breast crawl”.
Some tips for skin-to-skin time… Mom needs to be completely topless and for your baby, TAKE OFF EVERYTHING (except a diaper), no mittens, no hats, just a naked baby.