The Benefits of Skin-to-skin Contact

Category: Birth & Beyond

Now that baby's here it's time to hold him close. MH finds out the benefits of skin-to-skin contact. 

WORDS ANGEL DREWGUS

All newborn babies can benefit from skin-to-skin contact. The three main reasons are physiological, emotional and nutritional.

 

 

Your baby gets to know you through touch and smell, and placing her

on your chest will mean she's next to your skin and can smell your unique and natural scent. It can also encourage breastfeeding.

 

 

Skin-to-skin contact benefits all babies. Dr Chua Mei Chien, head and senior consultant, Department of Neonatology, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital gives a breakdown on the benefits of skin-to-skin contact.

 

  •  Stabilisation of the baby’s heart rate
  •  Improved (more regular) breathing pattern
  •  Improved oxygen saturation levels (an indicator of how well oxygen is being delivered to all the infants’ organs and tissues)
  •  Gain in sleep time
  •  More rapid weight gain
  •  Decreased crying
  •  More successful breastfeeding episodes
  •  Earlier hospital discharge

 

Mums benefit from skin-to-skin contact too. It is thought to promote maternal-infant feelings of closeness, build maternal confidence and improve breastfeeding success and may be a stress reducing experience for both mother and baby. Mothers who went through the kangaroo holding process describe their experience as nurturing and relationship building.

 

According to Kang Phaik Gaik, senior lactation consultant, Mount Alvernia Hospital, Alvernia Parentcraft Centre, these are the main benefits the mother gets from doing skin-to-skin with baby.

 

  •   Comfort
  •   Calm – cries less
  •   Reassurance
  •   Reduces stress
  •   Maintains warmth
  •   Promotes bonding that lasts a lifetime
  •   Facilitates breastfeeding
  •   Lowers infection
  •   Optimises oxytocin release – stimulated by touch and smell
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