baby with dad

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.

More information about Skin-to-Skin

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

Dads, 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
705-743-1000
From Monday- Friday
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Skin-to-Skin Contact for Newborn Babies

Skin-to-skin contact (SSC) immediately after birth between mothers and their infants has been shown to reduce crying, and to improve breastfeeding success compared to those babies that are swaddled at birth. Early SSC is the placing of an undressed (or diapered) baby prone on the mother’s bare chest immediately after birth. A blanket can be placed over the newborn for additional warmth, as long as it does not interfere with the direct SSC with the mother.

Benefits of Skin-to-Skin contact

Early SSC is a powerful vagal stimulant which releases maternal oxytocin. The release of oxytocin causes the skin temperature of the mother’s breasts to rise, thus providing a warm environment for her infant. The release of oxytocin also promotes maternal attachment. Early SSC has also been shown to increase cardiac and respiratory stability, along with improving temperature regulation and blood glucose levels for newborns.

Skin-to-Skin and Breastfeeding

Mothers that have immediate SSC with their babies have a significantly higher breastfeeding success rate at 1-4 months post-birth, and have an increased duration of breastfeeding. The infant has a more acute awareness of nipple location and have a heightened response to odour cues in the first few hours after birth. When breastfeeding initiation is successful this improves a mother’s confidence and reduces her stress.

How can you incorporate Skin-to-Skin in your Practice?

Prenatally you can promote skin-to-skin by discussing the benefits with women.

In the delivery room place healthy term babies in uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth for at least one hour or until completion of the first feeding, or for as long as the mother wishes. Babies can be dried on mother’s chest and clean blankets placed over the two of them for warmth. Encourage mothers to recognize when their babies are ready to feed, offering help as needed.

In the early postpartum period including the hospital stay and well-baby checks, ask about and encourage skin-to-skin with parents as a way to support breastfeeding and promote attachment.