Healthy Birth Practice # 6

"Keep Mother and Baby Together: It's Best for Mother, Baby and Breastfeeding."

Throughout most of human history, mothers and babies have stayed together from the moment of birth. When a newborn is placed skin- to – skin not only is this the first time a mother and her newborn can meet and bond, but it’s helps the natural progression of breastfeeding and hormonal release.

The familiar sounds, smells, and tastes, and the perfect warmth of your skin helps your baby know they are safe and sound.

Experts now recommend that right after birth, a healthy newborn should be placed skin-to-skin on the mother’s abdomen or chest and should be dried and covered with warm blankets. Any care that needs to be done immediately after birth can be done with your baby skin-to-skin on your chest.

With Skin to skin, your baby more easily transitions to breathing, stays at just the right temperature, and learns instinctively how to nurse. In fact, scientists have discovered that unmediated babies who are held skin to skin and undisturbed in the hour after birth need no help at all to start nursing. They scoot and crawl up the mother’s belly, find the nipple by sight and smell, and latch on all on their own!

The more time spent with skin-to-skin contact in the first days after birth, the stronger the benefits. One amazing benefit is a greater mother-baby attachment. Women who hold their babies skin to skin after birth care for their babies with more confidence and recognize and respond to their babies’ needs sooner.

Research studies have compared babies who have skin-to-skin contact in the hours after birth with babies placed in a bassinet or wrapped in blankets. The studies found that babies held skin to skin do better in many ways.

Benefits for Babies Held Skin to Skin after Birth:
• They have more stable temperatures.
• They cry less.
• They have more stable blood sugar.
• They breastfeed sooner, longer, and more easily.
• They have lower levels of stress hormones.
• They are exposed to the normal bacteria on the mother’s skin, which may protect them from becoming sick due to harmful germs.

Keeping your baby close makes the early hours and days of birth safer and healthier for you and your baby. After 9 months of growing and nurturing your baby, keep them near – hold them close, gaze upon them and soak in every moment of them.

Healthy Birth #6