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Four Benefits Of Skin-To-Skin Care For Newborns: What Parents Need To Know

Author
Amanda Turner
November 9, 2023

Snuggling a baby just after they’re born is an important way for parents and other caregivers to bond with their new infant, but the benefits of skin-to-skin contact go far beyond good feelings for parents and babies. 

Here, we’ll take a look at five of the reasons why skin-to-skin contact is key for optimal infant health.

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Skin-To-Skin Bonding: The Basics

Skin-to-skin bonding is simple, and both mom and baby experience positive effects. If your baby isn’t able to participate in skin-to-skin bonding immediately after birth due to health issues, don’t worry–there are benefits from engaging in the practice later as well. 

For maximum benefit, you’ll want to place your naked or nearly-naked (it’s fine if they’re wearing a diaper and a knit hat) baby directly on your chest. Cover their back with a blanket to help seal in extra warmth. You’ll likely notice your baby immediately relax as they listen to your heartbeat. 

If you don’t feel a connection with your baby immediately when you begin skin-to-skin contact, don’t worry–this is completely normal. For many parents, it takes time to bond with a baby, especially if the birthing process was especially difficult. Fear not–as you and your new little one get to know each other, your bond will grow and solidify.

1. Eases Pain and Stress

There’s no way around it: it’s not easy being a baby. For nearly a year, a baby is wrapped in the softness of their mother’s womb, surrounded by warmth and care. After birth, an infant is exposed to bright lights, pain, harsh noises, and more. It makes sense that little ones are comforted by touch, especially from those whose voices they heard before they were born. 

Research shows that when infants are held skin-to-skin, they experience lower levels of stress. They can also experience faster recovery times and less pain following medical procedures with the application of skin-to-skin contact. When infants are held close to a caregiver’s body in contact with the skin, they also experience a drop in heart rate, which can contribute to a feeling of peace and calm. 

There’s a reason that parents have an instinct to snuggle babies through tough times, and today, the vast majority of hospitals in the U.S. encourage immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth to help both new parents and their baby feel connected, calm stress, and get to know each other following the birthing process. 

2. Thermal Regulation

Snuggling up with a baby feels warm and cozy–for good reason. Some babies struggle to maintain an appropriate body temperature following birth, especially if they have a low birth weight or are premature. When babies are snuggled up with their mom or dad for skin-to-skin contact, they’re less likely to experience hypothermia than babies who do not experience this type of touch from a caregiver. 

When a baby feels cozy and warm, they’re more easily able to eat, relax, and fall asleep. This results in a healthier, happier baby, and healthier, happier parents.

3. Lowers Cortisol Levels for Mom and Baby

Skin to skin contact has been shown to result in lower levels of cortisol, a hormone in the body that indicates stress. While it’s important for babies to regulate stress in order to rest, grow, and develop, it’s also important for parents to have healthy stress regulation so that they can provide their child with the best care possible. 

Pregnancy and birth is hard on the mind and the body, and when a mother has the chance to enjoy skin-to-skin time with her baby, research shows that she is less likely to experience anxiety and other negative feelings that many new parents experience after giving birth. Moms who engage in skin-to-skin contact have also been shown to have a higher number of positive interactions with their babies than moms who do not get the chance to do skin-to-skin bonding.

4. Improves Attachment

Research shows that skin-to-skin contact shortly after birth contributes to a healthy attachment between mom and baby. A secure attachment style is key for a happy, healthy life for a child, and skin-to-skin contact sets the stage for a baby to know that their caregiver is never far away. Additionally, increasing skin-to-skin contact also allows parents to sync up with their baby’s emotions and needs.

In addition to providing reassurance that caregivers are nearby, skin-to-skin contact also helps a baby match their caregiver’s stress levels. While it may sound like a bad thing for a baby’s stress to increase when a parent’s stress increases, this is not necessarily the case. Babies pick up on cues from parents, and showing a baby how to deal with stress in a healthy way can have a lasting positive effect.

You Want The Best For Your Baby. If They’ve Experienced Negative Digestive Effects From Baby Formula Use, We’re Here To Help

As a parent, you spend time researching what’s best for your baby and their long-term health, and you work hard to do everything right to create a happy, healthy future for your child. Sadly, many parents have been told to feel their preterm infants baby formula (including Similac and Enfamil) that can cause long-term health problems, including necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). If your baby or child has been diagnosed with NEC after using Similac or Enfamil infant formula, they may be entitled to financial compensation. 

At Select Justice we partner with compassionate, experienced attorneys to get you the best possible outcome for your case. Our partners work on contingency which means that if you don’t win, you don’t pay. Don’t wait. Reach out to us today for a free case review and begin your journey to justice.

Free Case Evaluation

If your child was diagnosed with NEC, Select Justice can help you fight for your rights and compensation.

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About us

We are here to help you and loved ones advocate for justice. Feel free to send us any questions you might have, either about an injury or the process for pursuing justice so we can help you exercise your rights.

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