Skin-to-skin with your baby
Letting your baby lie with you skin-to-skin a lot can make life with a newborn both easier and more comfortable. The baby feels good being close to you and the skin-to-skin contact affirms your relationship and the bond between you.
3 min read
Written by Emma Fransson
Newborn babies feel safe when they hear their mother's heartbeat and family voices, as these are familiar sounds from their time in the womb. Hold your baby, naked with a nappy on, against your own naked upper body and create moments of closeness, skin to skin. If you weren't the parent carrying the baby it's an extra nice way to get close, start getting to know each other, and feel confident that the baby is happy.
Skin-to-skin with your baby when breastfeeding
If you are breastfeeding, these quiet moments with the baby are also important for milk production. Physical contact gives you both peace and quiet, which often benefits breastfeeding. Blood sugar levels in newborns also become more stable with a lot of skin contact.
A full baby should preferably be in an upright position to facilitate digestion. If breastfeeding is difficult, skin-to-skin can help even when the baby is a bit older.
When you let your newborn baby lie skin-to-skin with you, the closeness and warmth of your body make it easier for the baby to sleep well. If the room is cold you can have a blanket over you. If your baby is lying on your stomach against your body, their head should be turned to the side so that the baby can breathe easily. The baby shouldn't lie on your stomach on top of you if you're both going to sleep as lying on the stomach is not recommended as a sleeping position for unattended babies. You can also use a sling or shawl for skin-to-skin contact if you wish to.
Studies on skin-to-skin with your baby
Maybe physical proximity is so obvious that you don't even think about it, but if for some reason it suddenly becomes impossible to have your baby skin-to-skin there's probably something wrong. In the past, lots of people believed that food was the most important thing of all, but the close, physical contact between baby and parent is even more important. It also facilitates the baby's nutritional intake and releases calming hormones that are good for both the baby and you, or the person lying or sitting with the baby skin-to-skin.
There are now many studies that show the benefits of skin-to-skin contact. In healthcare, the skin-to-skin method is used for, for example, premature babies, so-called kangaroo care, which has been shown to improve these babies' chances of survival.
Skin-to-skin is nothing new, it's the most natural thing for most people when taking care of their newborns. Let it become a habit you repeat many times a day. All parents, fathers, mothers, and co-parents can experience reduced stress hormone levels, and above all, stronger bonds with their children through skin-to-skin contact.
Written by Emma Fransson
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