A Year Of Skin To Skin
Well after a baby is born, skin to skin continues to bring benefits to both parents and baby. Doing skin-to-skin on either parent exposes baby to the good bacteria on their parents chest, helping to build their immune system. In the case of a breastfeeding parent, this exposure helps customize breastmilk, as the body produces antibodies in response to what bacteria the baby has.
There are plenty of benefits for parents too. Researchers suspect that the hit of oxytocin that skin-to-skin triggers makes it a powerful tool for warding off depression and making parents feel less stressed.
One 2017 randomized controlled trial found that dads who did skin-to-skin for at least 15 minutes on the day of their babys birth and the following three days had stronger attachments to their babies than dads who held their babies while clothed.
Researchers measured attachment with a well-known tool called the Father-Child Attachment Scale, a survey where dads reported how often they talked to, touched, cared for, and explored their child. They suggested that holding their infants skin to skin helped dads understand their babys needs. The researchers also theorized that the release of oxytocin associated with skin to skin helps relax parents and reduce their stress levels, which further promotes bonding.
Improves Chances Of Breastfeeding
A huge benefit of skin-to-skin is that babies are more likely to nurse sooner and nurse longer. You dont even have to force baby to your breast when youre doing skin-to-skin. Have you heard of the breast crawl? Your baby can find your breasts and latch themself on. The sooner you can establish breastfeeding, the faster it can help establish mamas milk supply.
In a study of 21 babies after vaginal birth, three researchers divided them into two groups. One group was laid skin-to-skin on the mothers body, examined briefly, then returned to skin-to-skin contact for two hours. The other group was shown to the mother, examined, swaddled with babys hands-free, and then returned to the mother. The swaddled group showed delayed feeding behaviors, suckled less competently at their first breastfeeding, and established effective breastfeeding later. Read here for more about this study.
How Does Skin To Skin Rewire Dads Brain
Many of our bodily processes are run by and impacted by our hormones. Our hormones are influenced by many things including our environment and actions.
When dad spends time skin to skin with his newborn hormonal changes occur including a rise in dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for many things including pleasure.
A rise in dopamine plus the release of oxytocin means dads brain creates a positive association with close interaction with baby. It seems that skin to skin with dad can help dads natural parenting instincts to kick in.
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When Can You Start Skin
As the mom, whether youâve given birth vaginally or via a cesarean section, you can practice skin-to-skin contact immediately or soon after delivery.
Depending on your condition and your babyâs medical situation after delivery, you can usually ask to hold your baby right after birth.
You might even like to state in your birth plan that youâd like skin-to-skin contact to begin as soon as possible after delivery and for it to be interruption-free.
As the dad, you can start skin-to-skin contact at any time, too. For example, if your partner is receiving care or stitches after a C-section or an episiotomy, this is a good opportunity for you to have some skin-to-skin contact with your newborn while you wait for the procedure to be finished. Once your partner is well enough, she can take over skin-to-skin contact.
Reasons Why Dad Should Have Skin To Skin Time Too
In my experience, skin-to-skin time with mum in most hospitals here in Australia is pretty standard practice. Baby is born, lifted on to mums chest and then later, after mum has had a chance to establish a good breastfeeding latch, baby is weighed in, checked, and then wrapped up or dressed. Its generally at this point when baby gets some cuddles with dad.
But what about skin-to-skin with DAD? I have witnessed some beautiful births where dad has been aware of the benefits of skin to skin contact with his baby, and has been ready to receive his newborn on his bare chest.
You can find links at the bottom of this article about the general benefits of skin-to-skin time, but what are the benefits specifically relating to dads?
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Comparison Of Intergroup Father
Table 2 and Figure 2 show the results of statistical analyses of pretest and posttest FCAS scores for the two groups. The findings indicate that the mean posttest intervention group scores for all subscales were significantly higher than corresponding pretest scores. Conversely, only the mean posttest score for touching was significantly higher than the corresponding pretest scores for the control group. Furthermore, the total pretest-to-posttest score change was larger for the intervention group than for the control group .
Why Dads Will Love Skin
While there arent as many physical effects to skin-to-skin for dad as compared to those that his baby will receive, dads will still love and appreciate the positive mental health benefits that this practice has to offer.
This baby-rearing practice can help dad to feel bonded with baby and confident in his connection.
It really is good for both! Additionally, many moms, especially those who are breastfeeding, might feel touched-out, and dad playing the part of the mama kangaroo can be a gift.
When dad spends time in skin-to-skin mode with his new paper, a serious surge of oxytocin runs through his blood. Oxytocin is known as the feel-good hormone it decreases cortisol and testosterone levels and generally makes you feel happy and lovey.
This shift in hormone levels leaves dad with a sense of well-being and relaxation, which are welcome to a new parent. This also aids in the dads response to nurturing and showing affection to the new baby, which creates a genuine bond.
Feeling more in tune with your babys needs leads to overall better confidence in your parenting skills and ability to nurture. Altogether, these feelings can also lead to a sense of protectiveness in the new papa bear.
Everyone deserves the power of this awesome bonding experience.
Why Every Dad Should Have Skin To Skin Time When Baby Is Born
Much of preparing for birth and the postnatal period revolves around mother and baby.
Certainly for good reason: both work incredibly hard and both deserve those amazing moments in the first hour after birth.
However, more research continues to surface about the importance of dads role during birth and the postnatal period.
In fact, even beyond the immediate postnatal period, weve recently learned that dads interactions can impact a childs social and emotional health for the first 10 years, but likely much longer.
You can read more about dads role in child development in BellyBellys article Dads Mood Plays A Key Role In Child Development.
How Should Dads Do Skin
Skin-to-skin contact can be easy and enjoyable. With a few simple steps, you will be an expert in no time.
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Skin To Skin Can Help Prevent Postpartum Depression
One of the many benefits of skin to skin with a baby includes the release of oxytocin for both MOM & BABY!
Thanks to that sweet loveable hormonal release, it can actually help to combat postpartum anxiety and possibly prevent postpartum depression!
In fact, in an article that The Bump published, they stated that According to the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological, and Neonatal Nursing, skin-to-skin contact between baby and mother may be alternative therapy moms can try.
Isnt that crazy? I always find things like this so fascinating because its the simplest, yet impactful things we can do that have some of the most rewarding results!
Some of the other ways that skin to skin contact can be so beneficial to you and baby include:
- Promotes early bonding between mother and baby or dad and baby
- Can help regulate babys heart rate and respirations
- Potentially helps establish moms breastmilk supply
- Significantly reduces crying
- Can help your baby sleep more easily
- Helps to boost babys immunity
Benefit #: Reduced Postpartum Depression
Though there are many factors that affect postpartum depression, new research suggests that skin-to-skin contact immediately following birth may reduce the incidence in moms. The ability to hold, snuggle, warm, smell, kiss, and nurse baby right after birth all stimulate intricate hormonal patterns within the mama that reinforce mothering behaviors and feelings of well-being. If these experiences are lacking, some experts believe that the mothers body interprets this as something going wrong with the birth. This may induce a stress/grief response that, in some cases, may create feelings of anxiety or depression.
According to the study in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological, and Neonatal Nursing, skin-to-skin contact between the mother and baby may be an alternative therapy for mothers trying to avoid taking medication. The study reveals that new mothers who had six hours of skin-to-skin contact during the first week followed by at least two hours during the next month reported fewer depressive symptoms.
Saliva samples confirmed lower cortisol levels, a marker of stress, than their counterparts. For a baby, skin-to-skin contact helps fulfill the need for human contact and promotes bonding. The touching releases the hormone oxytocin in the mother, which encourages infant/mother attachment and increases the feeling of well-being and relaxation.
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Promotion Of Bonding With Dad
“From their time in the womb, babies recognize their fathers’ voice,” says kangaroo care researcher Gene Cranston Anderson, Ph.D., R.N., professor emeritus of nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “Babies find skin-to-skin contact with dad calming, and it helps them bond.”
/6have You Tried Holding Your Baby Skin To Skin
Still from ‘Jane The Virgin’
Skin-to-skin contact is usually referred to the practice where a new born baby is dried and laid directly on the mother’s bare chest right after birth. Both of them are covered in a warm blanket and left for at least an hour, or until after the first feed.
There are also numerous benefits of this skin-to-skin contact of the newborn baby with their dad. Whats more, these benefits exist for both the child as well as the parent.
If you have not tried it before, read on to know the numerous benefits you and your baby can get from practicing skin to skin contact. All these benefits have been deduced from several studies carried out by experts.
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What Is Meant By Skin
Skin-to-skin means your full-term, healthy baby is placed belly-down, directly on your chest, right after birth. Your care provider dries your baby off, puts a hat on him or her, covers him or her with a warm blanket, and gets your baby settled on your chest. The first hours of snuggling skin-to-skin let you and your baby get to know each other. They also have important health benefits.
If your baby needs to meet the pediatrician first, or if you deliver by C-section, you can unwrap your baby and cuddle shortly after birth. If necessary, your partner can do the initial skin to skin. Newborns crave skin-to-skin contact, but it’s sometimes overwhelming for new moms. It’s okay to start slowly as you get to know your baby.
It Keeps Baby Warm And Provides Comfort
It may sound pretty obvious, but one of the benefits of skin-to-skin contact is its effectiveness in keeping baby warm. It also helps to soothe baby, with babies who are held skin-to-skin being 12 times less likely to cry!
However, while a womans biological breast tissue automatically adjusts to regulate baby’s body temperature – making baby cooler or warmer – an individual without breast tissue, for example a man, only heats baby. It’s therefore recommended that dad only holds baby skin-to-skin for sixty minutes at a time to avoid causing your newborn to get uncomfortably cozy! These shorter periods are perfect for taking turns with your partner!
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Whats The Big Deal With Skin
Lynsey Hansford looks at some of the amazing benefits of skin-to-skin in the hours and days after birth.
Skin-to-skin has become a birth plan buzzword. The term has penetrated birthspeak and, in my view, is at risk of being treated as a trend that is only paid lip service in the immediate postpartum period. I did just this with my first child! I knew skin-to-skin was something I *should* be doing but didnt really know why or what it should look like.
I mention skin-to-skin a lot in my voluntary work supporting mothers, the evidence shows it is something of a panacea for mother-baby pairs. I wonder if it is sometimes overlooked as a suggestion because it is such a simple idea putting your bare skin to your babys bare skin is not difficult, radical or revolutionary.
Looking at the research on skin to skin is important in understanding its value and how we can make it work for us. Its absolutely not just for mothers having a natural, vaginal birth, it doesnt need to be discarded from your birth plan if labour doesnt progress as youd hoped and it doesnt need to be forgotten after the first hours of your babys life. It is a valuable mothering tool and at the very least, it can do no harm. Below is a small sample of the research on skin-to-skin, I have included links at the bottom of this post that will lead you to many more. So here comes the science
Getting Started With Breastfeeding
If your baby has any trouble latching and breastfeeding in the first hour, it is very important that you use your hand to remove some colostrum from your breasts. This early stimulation will help get your milk supply going even if your baby wasn’t able to suckle at your breast.
Breastfeeding Protects Your Baby!
Breastfeeding exposes your baby to new germs, and your milk has antibodies that fight against those germs. It’s like giving your baby his first immunization!
Plan for Skin-to-Skin in the Hospital
Make skin-to-skin part of your birth plan. Talk to your doctor and hospital to make sure they support skin-to-skin time during the Sacred Hour and in your room. Skin-to-skin helps mom and baby get off to a good start with breastfeeding.
- Ask your hospital if they offer skin-to-skin after cesarean section deliveries if you and the baby are alert and stable.
- Dad may want to wear a shirt that can be unbuttoned so he can easily snuggle baby skin-to-skin.
- Let family and friends know about your plans. Tell them whenever you need privacy for skin-to-skin time in the hospital and at home.
- There’s no specific age when skin-to-skin should stop. It provides powerful benefits for baby the entire time he is an infant.
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The Golden Hour After Birth Why Is It Important
Although the golden hour after birth has a tremendous amount of benefits, skin to skin beyond that immediate hour after birth is also very important.
However, the golden hour has proven time and time again to be an integral factor in mothers who choose to breastfeed journey. By allowing that hour after birth of bare skin-to-skin contact, oftentimes, the baby will attempt to latch to the mothers breast on his or her own increases the chances of maintaining an exclusively breastfed journey and even minimizing the chances of postpartum hemorrhage.
According to one article on PARENTS, they quote that Depriving babies of skin-to-skin makes alternative stress pathways in the brain, which can lead to ADD, colic, sleep disorders, among other things Bergman adds.
What Does Skin
Skin-to-skin contact has been said to stimulate a specific part of a newbornâs brain. As the baby is placed onto its motherâs skin, they will begin to wake and start to open their eyes and become more responsive to the motherâs voice. The baby is stimulated to lift their knees up and effectively move or crawl towards their motherâs breast, attach and begin feeding.
How To Do Skin
Now youve got the theory covered, lets move on to how to do skin-to-skin properly with your baby. Firstly, skin-to-skin care can be practiced in several ways. This includes immediately after birth or during your hospital stay, which usually entails placing the baby on your bare chest, between the breasts. However, it can also include any skin-to-skin contact throughout the first few months of life. From naps at home together to quick cuddles on the go, you can practice kangaroo care anywhere by wearing a loose-fitting top or a button-down shirt and placing your baby underneath your clothes against your skin. There are also various skin-to-skin tubes and baby carriers that allow you to practice kangaroo care safely in your day-to-day routine.