May 21,

Skin-to-Skin: For Parents

Skin-to-Skin: For Parents

Skin-to-Skin is the healthiest place to begin!

Your baby has been looking forward to this.

What is skin-to-skin?

Skin-to-skin is a way of holding your baby.  During skin-to-skin your undressed or diapered baby is placed on your bare chest.  A blanket or clothing is placed over you both for warmth.  This is the most natural place for your baby to adjust to life outside of the womb.  Your baby can hear your heartbeat, breathing, voice, and smell you; sounds and scents that your baby has become familiar with for past nine months.

Why is skin-to-skin important? 

Holding your baby skin-to-skin is good for both you and your baby.

Your baby will:

  • cry less and be calmer
  • breastfeed better
  • stay warmer
  •  have better blood sugar levels
  • be protected by your good bacteria

You will:

  • learn the cues that your baby is hungry
  • breastfeed more easily
  •  bond with your baby
  • gain confidence in caring for your baby

When should I hold my baby skin-to-skin?

An important time to hold your baby skin-to-skin is immediately after birth.  Your baby is adjusting to life outside the womb; learning to breathe, regulating temperature, and blood sugar levels on their own.  Research shows that the mother’s chest is the healthiest place for this transition to occur. 

Routine procedures such as weighing, bathing, and medications can be delayed while you are holding your baby, unless they are medically necessary.  The World Health Organization recommends one hour of uninterrupted skin-to-skin immediately after birth.  Discuss your wishes to hold your baby skin-to-skin after birth with your health care provider.

Sometimes skin-to-skin is not possible in the delivery room (for example, after a cesarean delivery or if you need or your baby needs special care).  Your partner may be able to hold the baby skin-to-skin during this time. Once you and your baby are ready you can hold your baby skin-to-skin. Your baby will enjoy skin-to-skin contact for the weeks and months following birth.

Hold your baby skin-to-skin as often as you like especially in the first months of life.

Your family and skin-to-skin 

Dad and BabyDads, partners, and close family members can hold the baby skin-to-skin.  If mom is unable to hold the baby skin-to-skin immediately after birth, another family member can hold the baby. They will bond more with the baby and develop a healthy, loving relationship.  

Here’s how you can do skin-to-skin with your baby

Step 1 -Take off your baby’s blanket and clothing. Leave a diaper on.

Step 2 -Move clothing away from your chest and tummy.

Step 3 -Hold your baby, facing you, against your chest or tummy.

Step 4 -Put a blanket over you and your baby for warmth.

Step 5 -Enjoy the closeness and bonding with your baby.

For more information please call the:

Family Health Line
From Monday- Friday
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Last modified on Dec 11, 2012