What is Skin-to-Skin?

  • "Skin-to-skin" is when your naked baby (with or without a diaper) is placed tummy-down on your bare chest.
  • Your baby will smell, hear and feel you. This will help you get to know your baby, and your baby get to know you.

Skin-to-Skin Right after Birth

  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin right after birth, for at least 1 hour.
  • Skin-to-skin right after birth steadies your baby's temperature, breathing, heart rate and blood sugar. It will also help you heal from childbirth.
  • Skin-to-skin contact right after birth will help get breastfeeding off to a good start.
  • All mothers and babies can have skin-to-skin contact, even if you need stitches or have a cesarean birth. If you cannot hold your baby right after birth, your partner, or another person you are close to, can also do skin-to-skin. This will help them get to know and comfort your baby.
  • Premature babies also benefit from skin-to-skin. Many hospitals encourage this, and it is often called Kangaroo Care.
  • Let your health care provider know that you want to hold your baby skin-to-skin in the early time after birth.

Older Babies Enjoy Skin-to-Skin too

  • Hold your baby skin-to-skin even when you get home from the hospital. 
  • There are many benefits to holding your baby skin-to-skin in the months after birth:

    • Helps you learn your baby's feeding cues
    • Helps with breastfeeding and helps with mom's milk supply
    • Calms your baby and reduces crying
    • Lowers stress in mom and your baby
    • Helps with bonding between family and your baby
    • Helps your baby grow and develop well

For more information about the importance of responding to your baby's needs, visit our attachment page.

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