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The Golden Hour: Skin-to-Skin

Skin-to-skin contact has many proven benefits and is a great way for parents to bond with their newborn baby.

  • Reasons why babies love it

    • A mother holds her newborn infant to her chest.Allows a smooth transition for baby from uterus to outside world – close to your voice and heartbeat.
    • Causes baby to be comforted, feel calmer and cry less.
    • Protects the baby from negative effects of separation from mom, such as release of stress hormones.
    • Increases oxytocin levels. This is shown to increase love and bonding feelings.
    • Skin-to-skin helps baby’s respirations, heart rate and blood sugar stay normal.Their oxygen levels are highest when held skin-to-skin.
    • Increases mom’s confidence in caring for her baby in the immediate future and beyond.
    • Allows the baby to be in the right place to get to know mom and attach to the breast when ready.
  • Reasons why moms and dads love it

    • The movement of baby on mom’s body stimulates hormones. This causes mom’s uterus to contract and bleed less.
    • Being skin-to-skin helps lower mom’s stress and lets mom feel closer to her baby. This is a great time for both of you to get to know one another. The bonding that takes place during skin-to-skin time lasts long after birth.
    • Dad can do skin-to-skin too! Dad can’t breastfeed, but baby still knows the sound of dad’s voice.
    • Even after the first few hours of skin-to-skin time, continue to place your baby skin-to-skin over the next several days. This helps calm a fussy baby. If baby is too sleepy to nurse, this will help baby start to breastfeed.
    • Skin-to-skin time helps make baby warm and comforted. It also helps make breastfeeding a successful and enjoyable experience.
  • How to do it

    This will happen if baby cries, is breathing normally and has good tone and color after birth.

    • A nurse will place baby on your belly and dry baby well.
    • The hands will not be dried. This lets baby suckle the placental fluid – which smells and tastes like colostrum.
    • Baby will wear a diaper and a hat.
    • Baby will be placed on your chest between your breasts. The baby will go through the 9 stages of newborns.
    • You will both be covered by warmed blankets. Just make sure baby’s head is not covered.
    • Procedures will wait until after the first feed. These include weighing, Vitamin K, Hepatitis B shots and eye ointment.
    • Baby may take up to an hour or more to attach to the breast.
  • How to keep baby safe

    Make sure:

    • You are awake enough to monitor your newborn.
    • Baby’s face can still be seen. Position blankets below baby’s neck.
    • Baby’s head is in sniffing position (nose is raised).
    • Baby’s head is turned to one side.
    • Baby’s nose and mouth are not covered.
    • Baby’s neck is straight, not bent.
    • Baby’s shoulders and chest face you.
    • Baby’s legs are flexed.
    • Baby’s back is covered by blankets.
    • If you get sleepy, you need to put baby in the bassinet.