Baby's First Year · Breastfeeding · Pregnancy

Skin-to-skin: The healthiest place to begin

Newborn baby skin to skin on parent's bare chest with a lime green blanket covering the two.

What is skin-to-skin? Skin-to-skin contact means holding your baby against your bare chest or tummy. It has many health benefits for both you and your baby.

Babies:

  • breastfeed better
  • cry less and are calmer
  • stay warmer
  • have better blood sugar levels

Mothers*:

  • breastfeed more easily
  • learn when your baby is getting hungry
  • bond more with your baby
  • gain confidence and comfort caring for your baby

*The current research relates to individuals who have given birth and identify as mother

Your baby’s first hours

Your bare chest is the best place for your baby to adjust to life outside the womb. The first few hours of snuggling skin-to-skin help you and your baby get to know each other. Your baby smells you, hears you and feels you. Skin-to-skin is also better for babies born prematurely or by caesarean birth.

Skin-to-skin helps you breastfeed

Skin-to-skin is easy, follow these tips:

  1. Take off your baby’s blankets and clothing. Leave just the diaper on
  2. Move your clothing away from your chest
  3. Hold your baby facing you against your chest
  4. You can put a blanket over you and your baby

Keep cuddling skin-to-skin as often as possible in the months after birth. The benefits for bonding and breastfeeding continue long after that. Your family member can also spend skin-to-skin time with your baby.

If you haven’t held your baby skin-to-skin yet, start now! It’s never too late.

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