Snuggling gives you and your baby a normal start for breastfeeding. Research studies have shown that skin-to-skin babies breastfeed better.
Skin-to-skin means your baby is placed belly down, directly on your chest, right after she is born. Your care provider dries her off, puts on a hat and covers her with a warm blanket and gets her 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 she needs to meet the pediatricians first or if you deliver by c-section, you can unwrap her and cuddle shortly after birth. 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.
A Smooth Transition
Your chest is the best place for your baby to adjust to life in the outside world. Compared with babies who are swaddled or kept in a crib, skin-to-skin babies stay warmer and calmer, cry less and have better blood sugars.
Snuggling gives you and your baby a normal start for breastfeeding. Research studies have shown that skin-to-skin babies breastfeed better. They also keep nursing an average of six weeks longer. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breastfeeding babies spend time skin-to-skin right after birth. Keeping your baby skin-to-skin in his first few weeks makes it easy to know when to feed him, especially if he is a little sleepy.
Skin-to-Skin Beyond the Delivery Room
Keep cuddling skin-to-skin after you leave the hospital – your baby will stay warm and comfortable on your chest and the benefits for bonding, soothing and breastfeeding will continue well after birth. Skin-to-skin can help keep your baby interested in nursing if he’s sleepy. Dads can snuggle, too. Fathers and mothers who hold babies skin-to-skin help keep them calm and cozy.
Adapted from the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition, Breastfeeding Committee of Saskatchewan.