Why skin to skin contact is important after birth

Why skin to skin contact is important after birth

We are excited to welcome Emily from Held Mothers to the Rescueblue blog!

About Emily:

I’m a Registered Nurse, a Registered and Endorsed Midwife, and an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant based in Melbourne. I have 9 years of combined experience supporting families on their parenthood journey in various roles and feel so honoured to do this work. I have worked as a Neonatal Nurse and a Midwife at some of Melbourne’s largest hospitals, as well as in Private Practice offering full spectrum Midwifery care and Lactation Consulting. I am also a teaching associate at Monash University.

So, why is skin to skin contact so important after birth?

Immediately after birth is a sensitive time for programming future physiology and behaviour of the mother and her baby.

Women who have skin to skin contact with their baby immediately or soon after birth are more likely to breastfeed successfully and for longer.

Babies who experience skin to skin immediately or soon after birth have been shown to be better able to regulate their breathing, heart rate and blood sugar levels.

If a mother and baby are separated at birth, it can impact the baby’s transition to life outside the womb, can impact bonding hormones, delay lactation and can make breastfeeding more challenging. 

Most people have heard of ‘the golden hour’, however the WHO actually recommends at least 90 minutes of uninterrupted skin to skin after birth to support these important processes and to help babies be physically ready to breastfeed.

Never underestimate the power of skin to skin in the early hours, days and weeks after birth. If for some reason, you find yourself being separated from your baby after birth, aim to do skin to skin contact as soon as practical and if you experienced birth intervention, you may find you need a bit more skin to skin time to fill hormonal gaps. 

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