Skin to skin, means just that, baby’s bare skin against mother’s bare skin. No blankets or clothing interfering. The mother’s body will keep baby plenty warm while the baby adapts to life outside the womb. Baby will be happier lying against mom, as well as be better able to regulate her breathing, heart rate and blood sugar levels. Babies kept skin to skin after birth often self-latch, breastfeed better and get milk more easily. Skin to skin also helps colonize the baby’s gut with the same bacteria as his mother. This in addition to breastfeeding, are thought to be important to prevent allergic diseases.
Skin to skin contact immediately after birth, for at least an hour has the following positive effects on the baby:
- more stable and normal skin temperatures
- more stable and normal heart rates and blood pressures
- more likely to latch on
- more likely to latch on well
- have higher blood sugars
- less likely to cry
- more likely to breastfeed exclusively longer
Studies show that even premature babies are more metabolically stable when kept skin to skin, even if they have IV fluids and/or oxygen therapy.