Did you know that a baby only needs you, momma, right after birth?
In truth there doesn’t need to be hustle after Baby is born, as long as everyone is healthy. Baby doesn’t need to be whisked away to be cleaned, weighed, measured, poked, or washed right after birth. He only needs immediate uninterrupted skin to skin cuddles. “Skin to skin” means placing your newborn directly on your bare chest, covered with light blankets– ideally for at least an hour after birth.
Skin to skin is the best first gift you can give.
Skin to skin helps to comfort Baby after his transition into this bright, cold world. While on your chest, he will recognize your scent and your voice that he’s heard from the inside. You are all he knows and your close presence will comfort his first moments outside the womb. There is nothing quite like the feel of your newborn’s soft skin touching yours!
Those first glances and moments together are more than just photo opportunities. They set the stage for many important aspects during skin to skin, such as:
- Enhancing mother and baby bonding
- Helping baby to regulate temperature
- Reducing baby’s stress and crying
- Regulating baby’s heartbeat, oxygen levels, and breathing
- Raising baby’s blood glucose levels
- Encouraging the breastfeeding relationship
- Suckling of the breast, which helps mother’s uterus contract to control bleeding
- You will be the first to identify clues that your baby is experiencing hunger, happiness, or discomfort
- Raising your oxytocin levels– that amazing love hormone
Knowing how much your newest family addition weighs may be fun to find out once you see those chubby cheeks, but it can wait a little longer. Parts of the newborn exam can be done during skin to skin while other portions of the exam can be done later once you two have this important time together. There are many studies that reaffirm the numerous benefits, so this practice is showing to be on the rise as more new parents advocate for this natural-minded progression after birth.
Skin to skin is for all birth types!
This is an important line in your birth plan no matter how you plan to feed your baby, the type of birth you will have, or where you give birth. It is suitable and needed in all types– even a cesarean! You can also specify that if for some medical reason you can’t hold your baby immediately after birth, your partner can do skin-to-skin to bring warmth, stability, and bonding. In fact, it’s encouraged for both new moms and dads to continue skin-to-skin in the days and weeks following birth as well.
Kayann served as a labor and delivery nurse for over 17 years in NYC, and now extends her expertise and passion for women’s care outside of the hospital. Her mission is to educate and support moms through their birth experience. Click here to get started on your personal birthing journey with Kayann’s guidance.