The first hour after birth of skin on skin and bonding is an important and sacred time for the newborn baby, mother and partner and needs to be protected and supported.
You cannot get this time back so it should not be interfered with unless the mother or baby need medical attention immediately.
Many hospitals now try and attend to any medical needs with baby having skin on skin with the mother.
There have been numerous studies that provide evidence that mothers and their babies should have uninterrupted and immediate skin to skin contact after birth to help the newborn transition more easily into life outside of the womb.
Research also shows that immediate skin to skin for premature babies, known as “Kangaroo Care” have greatly increased the babies chance of survival.
Babies need to remain in close contact with their newborn parents, just like other mammals do.
When they are removed this activates stressor hormones and they become distressed.
Benefits of skin to skin contact after birth
- Improves bonding and maternal behaviour;
- Helps baby to transition more easily after birth;
- Reduces cortisol levels and increases oxytocin, which helps baby to feel safe and nurtured;
- Helps baby to adapt to their new enrionment;
- Helps regulate the baby’s temperature;
- Regulates heart rate and blood sugar levels;
- Baby becomes colonised with good bacteria from the mother;
- Gives the mother confidence to touch and care for her newborn baby;
- Gives the mother and baby sensory stimulation;
- Babies are more likely to latch onto the breast in their own time because they have an acute sense of smell, and can smell the colostrum from the nipple and instinctively know they have to get to it;
- They will then feed more easily with baby-led attachment;
- Supports optimal brain development;
- Promotes healthy weight gain as they are not using their energy to regulate their own body temperature;
- Helps to release the hormone prolactin for the production of milk;
- Baby is less stressed, therefore will sleep better;
- Also helps promote bonding with fathers / partners;
- May prevent postpartum depression due to the increase in oxytocin levels, which decreases maternal anxiety and promotes attachment parenting;
On 25th March 2010 a story that made world headlines about the power of skin to skin and “Kangaroo Care” by Australian mother Kate Ogg and her husband David dramatically changed how hospitals now treat premature babies.
After a premature twin birth the couple were told that their twin boy Jamie didn’t make it.
With her heart breaking, Kate took Jamie from the Obstetrician.
She unwrapped him and put him to her chest skin to skin and asked David to do the same.
She talked to Jamie, and held him and cried for him, all the while just holding him close and warm.
Baby Jamie then started to move, and gasped for air and opened his eyes and grabbed hold of David’s finger.
Kate says that upon reflection if they had let the Obstetrician take Jamie away, he certainly would have died.
Today the 6 year old twins Jamie and Emily are healthy and happy and they now have a younger sibling Charlie.
They love sharing their amazing birth journey and also raise funds for premature birth through JAMIE’S GIFT
My name is Vicki Hobbs and I am a Childbirth Educator (Back to Basics Birthing), Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner, Certified VBAC Educator, Remedial Massage Therapist specialising in Pregnancy Massage, Birth & Postpartum Doula, Certified Placenta Encapsulator, Hypnotherapist, Aromatherapist, Reiki Practitioner and Life Coach.
I am based in the northern suburbs of Perth and can be contacted by email by [email protected] or phone (08) 9303 9111.