Skin-to-Skin Contact Gives Baby Best Start

Written by admin, December 5, 2012

December 5, 2012 – Public Health Launches New Campaign to Promote Benefits of Early Bonding and Attachment for Parents and Infants

According to a new campaign launched today by Peterborough Public Health, holding babies skin-to-skin right after birth does more than simply feel good, it offers numerous health benefits to both mothers and their newborns.

“Early bonding and attachment between parents and their baby is important and establishes long term health benefits for infants,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “Research has shown that bonding improves emotional and psychological wellbeing and coping skills as the baby grows up. Skin-to-skin care helps provide the best possible start to a child’s life.”

Skin-to-skin is a way of holding a baby where an undressed (or diapered) baby is placed on their mother’s bare chest. This is the most natural place for a baby to adjust to life outside of the womb and a mother’s body provides a warm environment for her infant. Infants placed skin-to-skin immediately after birth have been shown to have reduced crying and improved breastfeeding success compared to those babies that are swaddled at birth. The first hours of snuggling skin-to-skin helps a mother and baby bond and get to know each other.   

Dr. Salvaterra noted that dads, partners, and close family members are also encouraged to hold newborns skin-to-skin in the weeks after birth. “They will bond more with the baby and develop a healthy, loving relationship,” she explained.

The emotional and physiological benefits of skin-to-skin contact for both mother and baby are considerable:

Benefits for Baby:

  • cry less and are calmer
  • breastfeed better
  • stay warmer
  • have better blood sugar levels
  • are protected by their mother’s good bacteria

Benefits for Mom:

  • learns the cues that her baby is hungry
  • breastfeeds more easily
  • bonds with her baby
  • gains confidence in caring for her baby

Skin-to-skin is very easy and consists of only these five simple steps:

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.

The Public Health hopes to reach as many families with newborns as possible with this important message in a City and County-wide awareness campaign featuring local mothers and their infants.  The skin-to-skin campaign will be seen on Peterborough buses, on posters, and will be directly promoted to healthcare providers as well. 

Each year, there are approximately 1,100 to 1,200 babies born in Peterborough City and County.

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For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Officer
(705) 743-1000, ext. 391