Skin-to-skin is the healthiest place to begin with newborn

Jodi Demaa, MSN, RNC, IBCLC, Lactation Consultant, Agnesian HealthCare

Skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns immediately after birth can be used to promote breastfeeding and may give babies a better start in life.

A mother’s bare chest is the best place for a baby to adjust to life outside the womb. A baby smells, hears and feels his/her mother. Skin-to-skin contact means holding a bare baby against a mother’s bare chest or tummy. Skin-to-skin babies stay warmer, calmer and breastfeed better than babies who are swaddled or wrapped. It is soothing for baby.

The first hours of snuggling skin-to-skin help mom and baby bond and get to know each other. Hold baby belly-down on your chest or tummy soon after birth. Keep cuddling skin-to-skin as often as possible in the months after birth. The benefits for bonding and breastfeeding continue long after that. Skin-to-skin is also better for babies born prematurely or by caesarean birth. 

Babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact in the following ways:

  • Breastfeed better
  • Cry less and are calmer
  • Stay warmer
  • Enjoy more comfort from you
  • Have better blood sugar levels
  • Protected by some of mom’s good bacteria

Mothers benefit from skin-to-skin contact in the following ways:

  • Breastfeed more easily
  • Learn when  baby is getting hungry
  • Bond more with baby
  • Gain confidence and satisfaction caring for baby

Early skin-to-skin contact is so very important and the skin-to-skin benefits speak for themselves. The importance goes beyond just successful breastfeeding, but has proven itself as a way of calming a baby. Let your provider know if you wish to take advantage of skin-to-skin contact.


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