Learn the importance of skin-to-skin cuddling with your baby.
Skin-to-skin cuddling with your newborn has many benefits. In an ideal situation, skin-to-skin cuddling would not be interrupted for the first two hours after birth.
Helps with breastfeeding
A baby's feeding instincts depend on being skin-to-skin with their mom. Guided by smell, a newborn can crawl up to the breast and begin feeding.
If mom and baby are separated, research shows it takes longer for babies to latch effectively.
Stabilizes the body systems
Benefits to baby
- Regulates temperature. If a newborn is cool, a mom’s skin temperature will rise by two degrees. If a newborn is too warm, a mom’s skin will cool by one degree.
- Regulates breathing
- Regulates heart rate
Benefits to mom
- Decreases blood pressure and heart rate
- Increases hormones which help with wound healing, milk supply and bonding
- Decreases chances to have baby blues and postnatal depression
Develops the brain
The first two hours after birth are a sensitive period where the brain is ready to make lots of connections.
At birth, smell and touch are important sensory needs. Skin-to-skin cuddling meets these needs and helps baby make good brain connections that have a lifelong effect on learning and behaviour.
When a baby is separated from his parents, they may have increased stress hormones, and lower temperature and heart rate.
Builds emotional bonds
Voice, touch and movement are all important for emotional development.
- Promotes powerful attachment behaviour, which helps get parenting off to a good start
- Causes hormonal changes and increased care-giving behaviours in both parents
- Promotes self confidence and improved social relationships later in life