5 Benefits of Skin to Skin Contact After Birth

Date:11-02-2014 10:41:01 read:1

For a long time, since birth started taking place in hospitals and not homes, the babies, as soon as they were born were taken away from the mothers to be cleaned, weighed and measured or registered. Only after everything was done that the babies were brought to their mothers to be fed. It was worse in the case of premature babies as the contact between them and other people, including their mothers were always kept at a minimum or many were kept without human contact for fear of contracting germs. But these days, the trend is changing and hospitals and health care professionals encourage the first contact between the mother and the infant. Skin to skin contact is important for a lot of reasons and these first few hours of contact is called a Kangaroo, happy hour and many other things. Here are some benefits of skin to skin contact between mother and infant after birth.

1. It helps in encouraging normal infant breathing and heart rate patterns

Soon after birth, infants are taken away from their protective cocoon and they may not like it entirely. When a baby is swaddled and cared for by the mother and is touched and held, it feels safe and this contact encourages the infant to breathe normally and also makes sure that the heart rate pattern is normal.

2. Infants cry less and appear less stressed when they are held by their mothers

When the mother holds the baby close to her heart and hugs it, the babies cry less and also are less stressed when exposed to a new and scary environment.

3. It helps babies stabilize their blood sugars and temperatures faster

It is not only the mothers that have to cope up with the birth and after it, but also the babies as they are also under a lot of pressure trying to come out and also make sense of the new world. Skin to skin contact helps babies to stabilize their blood sugar levels and also normalize their body temperature.

4. Skin to skin contact promotes bonding, decreases maternal anxiety and decreases maternal postpartum pain

A new mother will have a lot of anxieties about the baby and her body soon after the birth. Any anxiety will lessen once she holds the baby close. All her pain and doubts disappear when the baby bonds with her and begins suckling.

5. It encourages the breastfed infant to use its own instincts when feeding

When a mother holds the infant close to her breasts, the infant starts suckling without much prodding from the mother. The natural feeding instinct of the child is brought out this way. Even if the baby is not being breastfed it is wise to let the mother hold the bay close and the baby will feel protected and loved right from the beginning.

Babies are more perceptive than we give them credit for and the bonding and the babies’ mental growth starts right from day one. Its emotional well-being also depends a lot on how close the baby is to the mother.

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