The Benefits of Skin-to-Skin Contact for Newborns
As a new mum, you want to do everything you can to ensure your newborn is healthy and happy. One of the best things you can do for your baby is to provide skin-to-skin contact. Skin-to-skin contact involves placing your baby directly onto your bare chest, with no clothing or blankets in between. This type of contact has numerous benefits for both you and your baby.
In this blog, we’ll be discussing the benefits of skin-to-skin contact for newborns in the UK, and why you should make it a priority for you and your baby.
Regulates Baby’s Body Temperature Newborns are not able to regulate their body temperature as effectively as adults. However, when placed skin-to-skin, your body temperature will help regulate your baby’s temperature, keeping them warm and comfortable. This is especially important for premature babies or those born with a low birth weight.
Encourages Breastfeeding Skin-to-skin contact can help to encourage breastfeeding. When placed on your chest, your baby will naturally begin to search for your nipple, and the close proximity will help stimulate milk production. In fact, studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact can increase the likelihood of breastfeeding success and reduce the risk of breastfeeding difficulties.
Promotes Bonding The close physical contact between you and your baby during skin-to-skin contact promotes bonding. This can help your baby feel more secure and content, and it can help you feel more connected to your baby. Bonding is essential for establishing a healthy emotional relationship with your child, which can have lifelong benefits.
Reduces Stress and Pain Skin-to-skin contact has been shown to reduce stress and pain in newborns. The physical closeness and comfort of being held against a parent's skin can help to soothe a baby and reduce their levels of stress hormones. This can be especially beneficial for babies who are undergoing medical procedures, such as blood tests or vaccinations.
Helps Regulate Breathing and Heart Rate Skin-to-skin contact can help regulate your baby's breathing and heart rate. The physical closeness and touch can help your baby feel calm and safe, which can lead to more regular breathing and a slower heart rate. This can be particularly important for premature babies or those born with a low birth weight, who may struggle with these functions initially.
Skin-to-skin contact is an incredibly beneficial practice for newborns and new parents. It can help regulate body temperature, encourage breastfeeding, promote bonding, reduce stress and pain, and help regulate breathing and heart rate. So, if you’re a new parent, make sure to prioritise skin-to-skin contact with your baby, as it can have lifelong benefits for both you and your child.