DISCLAIMER: It’s important to note that the posts in this page are NOT intended to be a medical reference or to replace professional care during pregnancy, labor, or birth.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Magic of Skin to Skin

What is "Skin to Skin"?

As soon as newborn is transitted into this world, the newborn should be placed on mother's chest without any clothes/blanket as barrier between baby and mother's chest. Nobody should be pushing the baby to do anything; nobody should be trying to help the baby latch on during this time. The baby may be placed vertically on the mother’s abdomen and chest and be left to find his way to the breast, while mother supports him if necessary. The mother, of course, may make some attempts to help the baby, and this should not be discouraged. This is baby’s first journey in the outside world and the mother and baby should just be left in peace to enjoy each other’s company. (The mother and baby should not be left alone, however, especially if the mother has received medication, and it is important that not only the mother’s partner, but also a nurse, midwife, doula or physician stay with them—occasionally, some babies do need medical help and someone qualified should be there “just in case”).

Can "Skin to Skin" be done after a Caesarian Section?

Immediate skin to skin contact can also be done after c├Žsarean section, even while the mother is getting stitched up, unless there are medical reasons which prevent it.

What about Premature Babies? Can mothers practice "skin to skin"?

 Studies have shown that even premature babies, as small as 1200 g (2 lb 10 oz) are more stable metabolically (including the level of their blood sugars) and breathe better if they are skin to skin immediately after birth. Skin to skin contact is quite compatible with other measures taken to keep the baby healthy. Of course, if the baby is quite sick, the baby’s health must not be compromised, but any premature baby who is not suffering from respiratory distress syndrome can be skin to skin with the mother immediately after birth. Indeed, in the premature baby, as in the full term baby, skin to skin contact may decrease rapid breathing into the normal range.

How often is "Skin to Skin" recommended?

Skin to skin contact immediately after birth, which lasts for at least an hour (and should continue for as many hours as possible throughout the day and night for the first number of weeks).

Is "Skin to Skin" limited to mothers to practice only?

Of course not! :-) Daddies can play a role too!

What are the benefits of "Skin to Skin"?

 The baby: 

  • Is more likely to latch on
  • Is more likely to latch on well
  • Maintains his body temperature normal better even than in an incubator
  • Maintains his heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure normal
  • Has higher blood sugar
  • Is less likely to cry
  • Is more likely to breastfeed exclusively and breastfeed longer
  • Will indicate to his mother when he is ready to feed 
  •  Allows the baby to be colonized by the same bacteria as the mother. This, plus breastfeeding, are thought to be important in the prevention of allergic diseases. When a baby is put into an incubator, his skin and gut are often colonized by bacteria different from his mother’s.

Another interesting benefit of practicing "Skin to Skin" is the "Breastcrawl".
"Breastcrawl" is somewhat rather a phenomenon of the newborn finding it's way to the breast by him/herself.
Watch this heartwarming video by clicking the link below :-)

 Breast Crawl Video

Hope this was Helpful!

Happy Nursing Mummies! 

Sources (for information):

The Importance of Skin to Skin Contact, 2009©
Written and revised (under other names) by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC, 1995-2005©
Revised by Jack Newman MD, FRCPC and Edith Kernerman, IBCLC, 2008, 2009©

National Lactation Centre (Malaysia) 

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