Skin-to-skin contact has so many benefits right after birth and beyond. In Fact the benefits of skin-to-skin care during infancy persists for years. It is also known as “kangaroo care”.
Skin-to-skin is not just for moms. Babies love being held and cuddled by either parent. It stimulates and enhances the newborn brain in many important ways. It calms the baby during painful procedures and boosts bonding, soothing and feedings. As well it helps everyone relax.
Why is Skin-to-skin contact important for the newborns
● Helps maintain body temperature
Newborns cannot maintain their body temperature because when they are in the womb, the mother maintains the body temperature of the baby by sweating when it is hot and shivering when it is cold. So, babies have to acquire the same ability which takes some time. Until then, babies need warmth, which can be artificially given by using a heater or warmer. But, the best warmth acquired naturally by the baby is mother’s warmth which is given by just holding the baby closely, skin-to-skin touch which is full of love and helps in maintaining the body temperature of the baby.
● Better weight gain
Babies when held close and are in skin contact, they breastfeed well and grow well, which helps in gaining weight. So, if you find that your baby is underweight or needs to maintain the weight, try skin-to-skin touch with your baby. And it best works when you are feeding the baby.
● Improves communication
Skin-to-skin contact helps the mother to learn her baby’s signals sooner which improves communication between mother and the baby. It helps in boosting the maternal confidence and also helps babies to develop the sense of trust and security. It is the best way to develop a great bond with your baby since they are born.
● Helps in reducing the pain
Skin-to-skin helps the babies to experience less pain during the procedure and also it reduces the duration of the pain by the close contact. It also helps in relieving the pain while taking blood samples. It is also known as kangaroo care. It is studied that babies get the greatest relief when holded skin-to-skin for a longer time.
● Eases the transition from the womb
Many doctors prefer the practice of keeping the baby near the mother’s heart which smooths down the transition from the womb. It also makes the baby feel secure and comfortable. It has better outcomes like less crying, lower pain response and better breastfeeding. There is a proven physiological fact that “every mammal has to be cuddled and should be in close proximity with the mother in the first few days of its life”.
● Less colic
Skin-to-skin touch is one of the best ways to calm down a colic baby. Stress pathways lead to ADD, colic and sleep disorders in babies. Kangaroo care i.e. skin-to-skin holding of the baby helps in making the pathways stress free and ensures easy recovery from colic.