This week is Pregnancy Education week, and to celebrate the week of beautiful bellies, I have partnered with Bio-Oil to share some of the benefits of skin to skin contact, with your newborn.
If you’re an expecting mom, you’ve most likely heard all about skin to skin contact. Whether you plan on having a natural birth or a c-section, all moms and dads can benefit from skin to skin contact, following the time right after their newborn has been welcomed into the world. Most hospitals have started to encourage new parents (yes, dads too) to spend some time enjoying skin to skin contact with their newborns, but it is important to know why you should consider doing so.
What is skin to skin?
Skin to skin contact is when a newborn naked baby is placed tummy down on his mommy or daddy’s bare chest. For years, professionals have said that this approach has a multitude of benefits and unless the baby needs immediate care, hospitals and healthcare professionals continue to promote that parents spend at least an hour, soaking up skin to skin contact with their newborn.
The Benefits of Skin to Skin Contact
1. It regulates your baby’s heartbeat, breathing, and temperature
Your baby is so used to being in your womb, that he or she doesn’t quite know how to regulate their own temperature just yet. By laying your baby against your bare skin, which is the same temperature as your womb, your baby will be warmed by your body temperature and be in less shock from the change in environment. Your baby can also hear your heartbeat and the sound of your breathing, and will naturally mimic that.
2. It reduces your baby’s stress
Spending only 10 minutes cuddling your newborn chest to chest, can help reduce the stress of being in a new environment. Skin-to-skin contact reduces babies’ levels of the stress hormone called cortisol, and helps to increases levels of oxytocin, which is the hormone that helps your baby feel calm and safe.
3. It helps your baby sleep better
Much like adults, a calmer baby is a happier baby, which means he or she will sleep better. Medical professionals have found that babies who are cuddled on their parents bare chests sleep for longer periods of time and wake less frequently.
4. It helps and encourages the release of hormones to support breastfeeding
If you are hoping to breastfeed your newborn, skin to skin contact can help encourage your milk supply as the hormones, that produce your milk, are stimulated by the contact of your baby. Moms have even found that if you continue to practice baby wearing throughout the first year, your milk supply stays stronger due to the constant stimulation of that magic milk-making hormone.
5. It promotes bonding
Whether it is mom or dad’s chest, your new baby will find comfort in the warmth of their parent’s skin. This gives parents a special moment to soak up their new role as parents, and truly enjoy some quiet time with their newborn. Research shows that skin to skin contact also helps to reduce the risk of postpartum depression, as the calming hormones released helps to promote attachment and lowers a new mom’s anxiety.
This Pregnancy Education Week (18 to 26 February), Bio-Oil have been so kind to sponsor 3 Bio-Oil baby hampers, worth R160 each. The handy hamper contains a cotton babygrow, ‘Tips from Moms for Moms’ booklet and a bottle of Bio-Oil, the number one selling scar and stretch mark product in 21 countries. To enter, all you have to do is follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below.
(Competition opens on the 22nd of February and closes on the 8th of March, winner(s) will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to claim prize.)