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  • Writer's pictureKristan Jennings

Skin-to-Skin Contact Benefits: Nurturing Newborns for a Brighter Future

Updated: Nov 3, 2023


Introduction:


As a postpartum doula, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing countless new parents embark on their incredible journey of caring for their newborn babies. One topic that holds immense importance in newborn care is the practice of skin-to-skin contact, also known as kangaroo care. In this blog, we will explore the benefits of skin-to-skin contact and why it’s a crucial aspect of nurturing your newborn, supported by evidence from scientific studies.


Benefits of Skin-to-Skin Contact


1. Bonding and Attachment


Skin-to-skin contact strengthens the emotional bond between the parent and the baby, fostering a sense of security and love. Scientific studies have shown that this close contact releases oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone,” in both the parent and the baby. Oxytocin promotes bonding and attachment. For example, a study published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing found that mothers who practiced skin-to-skin contact reported feeling a stronger emotional connection with their babies.


2. Temperature Regulation


Kangaroo care helps regulate the baby’s body temperature by utilizing the parent’s body heat, ensuring the baby stays warm and comfortable. Research conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) highlights that skin-to-skin contact is particularly effective in preventing hypothermia in premature infants. It’s a natural and cost-effective way to maintain a baby’s temperature within the normal range.


3. Enhanced Breastfeeding


This practice aids successful breastfeeding initiation, benefiting both baby and mother. A study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, demonstrated that babies placed in skin-to-skin contact shortly after birth were more likely to latch onto the breast and breastfeed successfully in the early hours of life. This early breastfeeding has long-term health advantages for the baby.


4. Stress Reduction


Reduced stress hormones in both the baby and parent result from skin-to-skin contact, helping the baby adapt to their new environment. Research in the Journal of Perinatal Education indicates that babies who experience kangaroo care exhibit lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, compared to those who do not. Reduced stress in newborns can lead to better overall health and well-being.


5. Improved Sleep Patterns


Babies who experience kangaroo care tend to sleep more soundly and develop better sleep patterns over time. A study published in Acta Paediatrica revealed that infants who received skin-to-skin care had more stable sleep patterns, with fewer disruptions, leading to improved sleep for both the baby and the parents.


6. Enhanced Brain Development


Regular skin-to-skin contact The Power of Skin-to-Skin Contact for Newborn Care impacts a baby’s brain development, fostering a strong foundation for cognitive and emotional growth. Research cited in the journal Early Human Development suggests that this close physical contact stimulates the development of the baby’s brain, promoting better cognitive and emotional outcomes in the long run.


Conclusion:


As a postpartum doula, I’ve seen firsthand the incredible impact that skin-to-skin contact can have on both babies and parents. It’s a practice that fosters love, comfort, and a sense of security during a time of immense change and adjustment. So, as you embark on this beautiful journey of parenthood, remember the magic that happens when you hold your precious newborn close to your heart – it’s a gift that will shape their future in more ways than you can imagine.


newborn doula skin to skin with father

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