The benefits of skin to skin with baby

Skin to skin with your baby is a derivative of the Kangaroo method , a method of care invented by a Colombian medical team in the 1970s. First intended for small babies in maternity wards, the kangaroo method s It is then extended to neonatology departments (for premature babies) as its benefits are numerous for both newborns and parents.

So, what are the benefits of skin to skin for babies ? What are the benefits of skin-to-skin for parents ? When and how to practice skin to skin ? We tell you everything in this article and we take the opportunity to present our baby care box bringing together three products suitable from birth!

Skin to skin: the birth ritual

You have undoubtedly already seen it in films or in television shows, when the birth goes off without incident, both for the baby and for the mother, one of the first reflexes of the medical teams is to place the baby on mother's belly . This gesture, so harmless at first glance, is one of the best welcomes for the baby. Yes, let's remember, birth is a physical and mental ordeal for the mother-to-be, but also for her baby!

The baby spends nine months warm in a dark, cocooning place, living in harmony with his mother. When he comes out of the womb, he will be greeted by voices he does not know in a cold and very bright space... Imagine the shock he will have! Placing the baby on his mother's warm skin is therefore the best gift we can give him.

Of course, if the mother needs to receive care (episiotomy, cesarean section, tearing, etc.) , the person accompanying her can take the baby skin to skin!

Also note that skin to skin can be done immediately after childbirth !

How to practice it?

In general, once your baby is out of the womb, the medical teams will place it on you, directly on your skin. Your baby will be placed on his stomach with his head sideways between your breasts, to encourage lactation and the welcome feeding! If the room is cold, a hat and small socks will complete the look perfectly. You can also ask to put a diaper on him to keep him warm!

In general, mother-infant skin-to-skin after birth can last up to 2 hours. Then you can hand over to your partner so you can eat a little and go to the bathroom.

If the mother cannot make skin-to-skin contact with her baby, the partner can ask to do it in her place!

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The benefits of skin to skin for the baby

Just like baby massage , the benefits of skin to skin are numerous! Whether the child comes to term or prematurely, skin to skin is very beneficial for him. For full-term babies, the benefits of skin-to-skin contact are believed to be:

  • Stabilizes body temperature , it is even estimated that a baby is warmer when he is skin to skin with his parents than when he has clothes on him
  • Calms crying , the more the baby is against his parents, the more his stress decreases. It's also a great technique to soothe discharge cries once you get home.
  • Stabilizes his breathing and heart rate , the newborn will match his breathing to that of his mother, skin-to-skin contact also helps limit apnea in the newborn
  • Reduces pain , if baby is naked against his parents after birth he will be better able to withstand examinations, blood tests and injections
  • Facilitates breastfeeding , one of the first reflexes of the baby after birth is to try to suckle. It is also not uncommon to see colostrum leaking from the mother's breasts when she has her baby skin to skin after giving birth!
  • Baby is immunized thanks to healthy bacteria present on his parents' skin.

The benefits for premature children

Premature babies are children born before 37 weeks. There are three levels of prematurity: very prematurity (before 26 weeks), very prematurity (between 28 and 32 weeks) and medium prematurity (between 32 and 37 weeks).

When possible, skin-to-skin contact with a premature baby has positive effects on him:

  • His body temperature is better regulated
  • His weight gain is improving
  • His sleep is more restful and restorative
  • His breathing is more stable
  • His stress decreases.

Skin to skin in the context of a premature birth also allows parents to bond with their newborn who, most of the time, is in another department.

What are the benefits for parents with the kangaroo method?

Yes, the baby is not the only one to benefit from the benefits of the kangaroo method ! Among parents, we can also perceive positive effects such as better recovery for the mother after childbirth , a reduction in parental stress , an increase in self-confidence and a much stronger parent-child bond . In mothers who wish to breastfeed, we also notice better breast milk production ! This better production is due to two hormones: prolactin and oxytocin.

How to practice skin to skin at home?

Skin-to-skin contact can be practiced at home . To continue to benefit from the benefits, parents can take their baby skin to skin several times a day! To do this, certain precautions must be taken. You must check that:

  • The baby's head is always turned to avoid the risk of suffocation.
  • His chin is still slightly raised . The neck should not lean forward or backward.
  • His legs are bent so that he is curled up.
  • You have placed baby on his stomach , chest and shoulder facing his parent's chest.
  • The parent's position is comfortable and he or she does not fall asleep during skin-to-skin contact.

You can practice skin-to-skin for as long as necessary. In fact, there is no age limit for this beautiful shared moment! When the children are older, a baby carrier can be perfect for skin-to-skin contact, but this time dressed.

As you have seen, the benefits of skin to skin are as numerous for the baby as for their future parents . If you want to do skin to skin, consider talking about it and including it in your birth plan .

Likewise, if you do not feel comfortable and have any questions about this, do not hesitate to ask the midwives or pediatricians, they are there to help you with all aspects of your new role of parents! Once you get home, you can also take baby-carrying classes so you can have your baby in a baby carrier against you all day long.

To continue reading, an article might interest you >>co-sleeping with your baby .

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