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Skin-to-Skin Benefits Baby, Parents

10-05-2014

By Dr. Allison Huebert

Jennifer Sullens, RN, gets skin-to-skin time after the birth on her son in 2014.

Moore Care for Women is pleased to participate in the initiation of the skin-to-skin contact approach of Norman Regional HealthPlex. In fact, we are not only participating in this great change, we are championing it! We are excited about the benefits that early skin-to-skin contact brings to our patients. This means that parents get more close contact with their newborns and all reap the rewards. This bonding is not just the stuff of cute pictures. Keeping babies in skin contact with their parents immediately after birth has real benefits for parents and newborns. We've long recognized the benefits of "kangaroo care" preemies in the neonatal ICU - babies are placed against mom or dad’s chest. Now we are seeing benefits to healthy term newborns. Newborns given direct skin contact after birth regulate their temperature, breathing and blood sugar better. They are more likely to breastfeed sooner, better and longer. They take in less milk and even cry less when kept in close contact with their parents. Similarly, moms who are able to maintain close contact with their newborns note an earlier milk surge, increased production and earlier recognition of baby's hunger cues. Some studies even suggest that moms sleep better.

It is true that some babies require special interventions that prevent this skin tight bonding. Some moms are too ill or tired to participate as well. These cases are the exception and these families can make up for lost time when everyone is recovered. Don't be discouraged if that is your circumstance, just make up for lost time by getting your baby time in as soon as you can.

For most families, early skin contact with their newborns can start within moments of delivery. Other newborn procedures such as weighing, vaccines and eye ointment, can be delayed while mom and baby spend close personal time together. This can be facilitated equally well with vaginal deliveries and cesarean deliveries. You've waited months to meet your little one and worked hard for this special delivery, it’s time to relax and enjoy the closeness of your newborns touch. Cherish the time with early skin-to-skin bonding.

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