Doulas Northwest | How About That Skin To Skin
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16 Jul How About That Skin To Skin


Around the time of birth and early parenting, practicing “skin to skin” refers to holding a naked (or mostly naked) baby against another person’s naked (or mostly naked) chest.

This usually takes place with one or both parents of a new baby and is done out of desire or at the medical recommendation of baby’s pediatric team.

An increasing number of hospitals have adopted it as routine practice for newborns and recognize that it can be one of the ways to increase rates of breastfeeding, overall. Check out why, here.

If you’ve heard this term mentioned but not explained, then you might be asking “what IS the deal with skin to skin?”


It does have known physiological benefits like:

  • Encourages the stabilization of babies bodily functions like blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, temperature. In the early moments and days living on the outside, the stabilizing effects of skin to skin time can help a baby transition more smoothly.
  • Encourages bonding between parent and child through physical closeness and hormone transfer. While it can take time to mentally “downshift” after a demanding birth experience, layers of bonding can benefit both parents and babies right away.
  • If choosing to breastfeed, encourages early latching as well as continued easy access while learning the latching and milk transfer skills needed. If short or long term breastfeeding is important to you, early skin to skin time can help you meet your goals.


What if I don’t want immediate skin to skin with baby?

  • It’s definitely not a prerequisite to being an amazing parent. If the thought of a wet, gooey baby being placed on your chest makes you cringe, it’s ok to ask that baby be wiped down or bathed before skin to skin time begins.
  • Other aspects of baby care may take priority over immediate skin to skin time. If you have a concern about baby’s health, requesting a thorough examination and set of assessments by the pediatric team may feel right, before relaxing into skin to skin time.
  • With the intensity of giving birth often comes the need to take a few moments to ‘collect’ oneself and briefly adjust to the realization that baby is now on the outside. Allowing this parent the space to bring baby close on their own terms is a very healthy development of bonding and relationship.


So what do you think? Looking through a few benefits as well as some reasons why it might not be chosen immediately, it is your turn to decide what is best for you.



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