Skin-to-Skin is the Healthiest Place to Begin
Your bare chest is the best place for your baby to adjust to life outside the womb. Your baby smells you, hears you, feels you and gets to know you. Skin-to-skin contact means holding your bare baby against your bare chest or tummy.
Skin-to-skin babies stay warmer, calmer and breastfeed better than babies who are swaddled or wrapped. Skin-to-skin is soothing for your baby.
The first hours of snuggling skin-to-skin help you and your baby bond and get to know each other. Hold your baby belly-down on your chest or tummy soon after birth. Keep cuddling skin-to-skin as often as possible in the months after birth. The benefits for bonding and breastfeeding continue long after that. Skin-to-skin is also better for babies born prematurely or by Caesarean birth.
If you haven’t held your baby skin-to-skin yet, start now! It’s not too late.
Skin-to-skin contact has many health benefits for both you and your baby. Babies:
- Breastfeed better
- Cry less and are calmer
- Stay warmer
- Enjoy more comfort from you
- Have better blood sugar levels
- Are protected by some of your good bacteria
Skin-to-skin helps you breastfeed:
- Breastfeed more easily
- Learn when your baby is getting hungry
- Bond more with your baby
- Gain confidence and satisfaction caring for your baby
- Your baby is more likely to have a successful first breastfeed
- Your baby may breastfeed sooner and longer
- You will make more breast milk
- Helps your baby breastfeed when sleepy
Skin-to-skin is easy. Here's how:
- Take off your baby's blankets and clothing. Leave a diaper on
- Move clothing away from your chest and tummy
- Hold your baby, facing you, against your chest or tummy
- You can put a blanket over you and your baby
- Enjoy the closeness and bonding with your baby
Babies under six months old should be placed on their back in a crib or cradle close to your bed when you are ready to sleep. It is important that cribs and cradles meet current Canadian safety regulations.
Family and skin-to-skin:
Your family members can also spend skin-to-skin time with your baby. If you have a partner, plan skin-to-skin time together with your baby. It's a great way for you and your partner to spend time together and bond with your baby.
For more information about skin-to-skin, call 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 and speak with a public health professional Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or email Your Health Connection.
Reproduced with the Permission of Toronto Public Health