There are few things you can do that will benefit your newborn as much as placing him skin to skin with you. It’s so simple, yet it has so much impact on both your baby’s health and your relationship with him.
Skin-to-skin care (sometimes called "kangaroo care") makes a huge difference in successfully initiating breastfeeding. After all, when your baby is cuddled on your chest, he or she is closer to your breasts, can smell your milk easily and is more likely to latch on. Research continues to show that skin-to-skin contact also helps regulate an infant’s temperature, heart rate and blood sugar.
How It’s Done
At most hospitals today, babies are placed skin to skin with their mom (naked on her chest) right after birth for at least an hour. This can be done even if you’ve had a C-section.
With you in a semi-reclining position, your baby will be placed on you chest to chest, with his body between your breasts. In this position, many babies will open their mouths, searching for the breast, and latch on without much assistance.
Skin-to-skin time can be used with babies in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), including preemies (if they’re medically stable). It’s something your partner can do with your newborn, too.
Once you and your baby are back home, if you run into breastfeeding challenges, you can always return to skin-to-skin time with your baby. It also works well for comforting your little one when he or she is sick or upset.
See also ...
• Putting skin-to-skin contact to the test
• The AAP's stance on the benefits of skin-to-skin care
This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.
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