Skin-to-Skin

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.

Do you have more questions about parenting?

  • Connect with a registered nurse from Health811 for free, secure, and confidential health advice. Service is available 24/7 in English and French, with translation support also offered in other languages. Call 8-1-1 or visit Health811.ontario.ca.
  • Connect with a Community Navigator from 2-1-1 for information about community programs and resources across Eastern Ontario. Helpline service is available 24/7 and in many different languages. Call 2-1-1 or visit 211ontario.ca.
  • Connect with a Public Health Nurse and other parents on the Parenting in Ottawa Facebook page.
  • There are a variety of services to make it easier for your child to grow up healthy in Ottawa.
  • You can update your child's immunization record using either the CANImmunize App or the Immunization Connect Ontario (ICON) Tool
  • If you have received a message from Ottawa Public Health such as a letter or a call regarding immunization, an infectious disease, or infection control lapse, please call 613-580-6744 and listen to the menu options carefully.

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