Skin-to-Skin helps with Breastfeeding

It has been a normal practice that immediately after delivery, the baby is given to the mother to be held for that first skin-to-skin contact. It can also be practiced even after birth and can be done with dad. As it’s essential to family-centered care, the practice of skin-to-skin is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

A newborn is most likely to successfully breastfeed if skin-to-skin contact is experienced with mama. The contact of mama and baby’s skin stimulates the baby to find mom’s breast, attach their mouth to the nipple, and start nursing. WHO found in a recent study that 90 minutes of uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact on the mother’s bare chest after birth helps the baby to be physically ready to breastfeed.

The Early Essential Newborn Care (EENC) lists two elements crucial to this practice which are (1) prolonged skin-to-skin contact and (2) exclusive breastfeeding.

“The Sacred Hour”

It’s the first hour after delivery, a crucial time wherein skin-to-skin contact is experienced with your newborn as soon as they’re placed on your chest. The very first bonding time you have with your little one.

The benefits of skin-to-skin care (SSC)

  • Initiate a bond between mother and baby right after birth.

  • Helps your baby calm down and cry less.

  • Maintain your baby’s and your own body temperature upon skin-to-skin contact.

  • Helps regulate baby’s breathing and heart rate and stabilize their sugar level.

  • SSC reduces pain that could be felt by the baby if any procedures were done.

  • Mom will experience lower risk of postpartum hemorrhage, postpartum depression, and maternal stress.

  • Mom’s probability to breastfeed longer beyond the hospital time increases.

  • Develops your newborn’s brain with their experiences being held on mom or dad’s chest, as to the smells, textures, and sounds.

  • Helps the very first milk you produce (colostrum) to flow easily.

  • Helps improve the baby’s immune system and lessen the likelihood of them getting ill.

It’s not only right after birth that you can do SSC. You are allowed to do it beyond the birth period and early postpartum. Mamas find it soothing to hold baby skin-to-skin at any time and/or age.

Skin-to-skin care (SSC) is very safe

You might be wondering, is SSC safe? Yes, it definitely is! What you need to make sure is that you and your baby are positioned properly and are observed by a nursing staff to monitor both of your temperatures, heart rates, respiration, and check if any other health issues.

If you’re doing SSC at home, make sure to practice safe skin-to-skin time. Be observant that the baby can easily breathe, their nose and mouth are uncovered, and their neck isn’t bent too far forward.


Reminders for your skin-to-skin time

  • Don’t fall asleep as you can risk your little one’s airways to be blocked. Make sure to ask help from your partner or a family member when you feel on the brink of sleep.

  • Baby’s head must be higher than his feet, in an upright position.

  • Baby’s head should be turned to the side to make it easy for them to breathe while being held.

  • For adults holding the baby, they should be sitting in an upright position with a pillow on  their back.

  • Keep your little one warm with a blanket when holding them and be attentive that it doesn’t cover their mouth or nose.

One last thing, skin-to-skin time isn’t only for the moms, it’s for the dads too! They also can contribute to your little one’s health and dad will feel the intimacy and bond with the child.

Add SSC to your birth plan and consult with your OB GYN or midwife and the hospital to know if they support the SSC practice and what their guidelines are. Never be hesitant to ask any questions of your healthcare provider as many circumstances can occur that one would be unaware of.

Hope you enjoy your special bonding time with your mini me, moms!