Skin to skin contact is sometimes referred to as kangaroo care because of how the mother kangaroo holds her baby in her front pouch.
Kangaroo care is very similar to mother and baby skin to skin contact.
The technique is now a widely used practice for babies.
The term is mainly used referring to premature babies.
When a baby is premature the mother is encouraged to have skin to skin contact with her baby for as long as possible each day.
Today the term not only refers to premature babies but it is also for full-term babies as well.
Having skin to skin contact with your baby is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your newborn.
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What is skin to skin contact?
Skin to skin contact usually takes place immediately after your baby is born.
The baby is placed naked on to the mother’s bare chest.
There are several benefits to doing this but the main one being that it creates a sense of bonding between you and your baby.
There are a number of other benefits also to having skin to skin contact with your newborn.
We will look at these in a moment.
Can dads do skin to skin contact?
Yes of course.
Skin to skin contact works just as well for dads too. Dads can have almost the same benefits as a mom.
The only major difference is that your baby will know mom better because they have heard every heartbeat and sound that mom has made.
Nevertheless, dads should be encouraged to have just as much skin to skin contact with their baby.
Benefits of having skin to skin contact
1. It helps to keep your newborn baby’s body temperature stable
At such a tender young age baby’s bodies are not yet developed enough to regulate temperature on their own.
This is why people always place emphasis on if your baby is too hot or too cold.
Having skin to skin contact helps to keep the body temperature of your baby stable and in line with your own.
There are some studies that have shown that the skin to skin contact between a mother and her baby is actually very powerful.
It is more powerful than any machine that is meant to regulate body temperature on your behalf.
The mother’s body provides the baby with optimal body temperature.
It is a similar instance to a baby being in the mother’s womb compared with being in an incubator.
2. Skin to Skin Contact Helps with Breastfeeding
A baby who receives skin to skin contact is far more likely to be able to latch on to the breast easier and feed for a longer period of time.
Baby’s are so intuitive that if you lie a baby close to its mothers’ nipple but not quite on it they will instinctively position themselves to be able to latch on without any help from you.
How amazing is that?!
I tried this with my youngest and it worked!
3. Prevents Baby from Feeling Anxious
As expected when your baby is close to you it stops them from feeling anxious.
Your baby has lived inside your womb for the past 9 months. Hearing you talk and sensing everything about you.
All of a sudden they have been expelled into a whole new world that they don’t quite fully understand yet.
It’s bound to be a little bit traumatic for them.
That would be a big change to anyone let alone a newborn baby.
So having that time for skin to skin contact is indeed very beneficial.
It will help to reassure your baby that everything is ok.
The fact that that they can still listen in to your heartbeat which has been their main source of sound since their existence is a bonus.
4. Aids with the Mother Baby Bonding Process
As a mother myself those first moments of having your baby placed on your chest are the most beautiful.
There is an immediate connection between both of you.
All the pain that you just experienced from giving birth somehow becomes meaningless in the middle of such a precious moment.
It’s an overwhelming experience to try to express from a mothers point of view.
It’s pretty likely that your baby is also feeling something very similar to you.
Those few moments of having baby lie down on your chest are simply unforgettable.
5. Helps to Regulate Baby’s Breathing
It’s a known fact that sometimes baby’s can stop breathing for short amounts of time.
This is not necessarily something that you would have to be overly worried about.
Having the skin to skin contact time with your baby can help to train your newborn in how to get into a breathing pattern.
6. Skin to skin contact helps with better sleep for mother and baby
When your baby feels relaxed and comfortable around you they will have better sleeping sessions and be more relaxed in general.
I know from personal experience that when my baby sleeps next to me they seem to go into a deeper sleep much more easily.
Having the same sounds from the womb and feeling your heartbeat whilst they lie down on your chest creates a calm for your baby.
7. Reduces the Amount of Crying
Once your baby is relaxed they will be less inclined to spend a lot of time crying.
Instead, they will spend the time looking at your face and trying to understand your expressions and being happy.
Skin to skin contact is generally great for the first 2 hours after childbirth but it really doesn’t have to stop there.
You can continue to do skin to skin even once you get home from the hospital.
Final thoughts on skin to skin contact with your baby
The newborn phase of a baby goes extremely quickly so you will want to take advantage of this time as much as possible.
If you want to be able to have skin to skin contact with your baby whilst still having the freedom to move around you should consider purchasing a kangaroo top from Amazon. You can grab one by clicking this link.
These are great tips to help encourage you to try out skin to skin contact with your baby.
Remember that skin to skin contact doesn’t only have to take place with your newborn baby, you can also do it with a slightly older child too.
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