As I’m always that mama blogger that just loves throwing those baby terms and phrases out there, if you follow me on instagram then you would have seen that I recently posted a picture of me
naked with my baby girl. Thus inspiring me towards this blog post so I could talk (or type) about the pure intimacy, the closeness and the benefits of the now more commonly heard term: skin – to skin.
So what is Skin – to – Skin?
The definition of skin – to – skin (also known as kangaroo care, or kangaroo mother care (KMC) is holding a baby bare chested against the care givers bare chest from birth and as much as you can throughout the first few months of life.
More importantly: What are the main benefits of skin – to skin?
- Keeps baby warmer, regulates breathing and heartbeat and keeps blood sugar levels higher.
- Mothers who practise skin to skin find that they recognise their babies needs much more easily (in my case this is true, I’ve always known what my babies wanted purely from instinct from the strong maternal bond)
- Babies who are kept close via a sling or kangaroo care are most likely to breastfeed exclusively and for longer (very true)
- The physical contact of skin to skin will increase the mum’s supply of the happy hormone OXYTOCIN – happy mum, happy baby!
- Skin to skin stabilizes a baby’s body temperature for them, no machines in the world can let you know if your baby is too hot or too cold, it we can only keep our baby in a median average temperature, however, when practising skin to skin a mothers breasts have the ability to recognize the baby’s needs temperature wise and adjust accordingly. A cooler fact? A twin mother’s breasts will adjust accordingly to each baby if one child is placed on each breast. Our bodies know what’s best for our babies!
- Easy transition from the womb – studies have shown that babies who are held skin to skin are more physiologically and emotionally stable than babies who are placed in incubators. They also demonstrate better neurobehavioral outcomes such as less crying, lower pain response and better breastfeeding.
- Studies of babies having to go through clinical procedures, such as preemies in the NICU, show that skin to skin definitely helps pain relief and that the duration of the pain is shortened by the close contact. Researchers are hoping that in the new future, findings from these studies will be taken into consideration and that a real breakthrough will be made in newborn care, especially for those who have to go through any types of painful procedures.
As you can see nothing is better for our newborn babies than a mama’s body. Just as through the whole pregnancy a mother’s body changes accordingly to adapt and grow a child within her, skin to skin proves that a mothers body also knows’ best during the fourth trimester of childcare and the transitioning from the womb to the outside world. As well as all the benefits, kangaroo care can be just fun in itself, so whilst your babies are tiny, skin to skin as much as you can and enjoy the bond that will be formed between you and your tiny loved one(s).