Skin to skin or Kangaroo Care refers to placing your baby’s naked belly on your bare chest with their head to the side. Typically a blanket is then placed on their back to keep them warm. This snug skin to skin contact has many important benefits for mom and baby.
Skin to skin on your chest is the perfect spot for your new baby immediately following delivery- weather that be vaginal or cesarian! What better place than to be snuggled up with their mama anyways, right? Soak in all those newborn snuggles while reaping the benefits for you both. It is recommended that this initial skin to skin contact is at least an hour.
Benefits of Skin to Skin
Some benefits for baby include helping to stabilize and regulate their body temperature (especially after such a huge transition into their new environment), stabilizing blood sugar levels, helping baby stay calm and relaxed, regulate their breathing and heart rate, aid digestion, and promote bonding. Kangaroo Care also encourages breastfeeding (if desired) and babies who do skin to skin are more likely to breastfeed and for longer.
For mama, some benefits include the reduction in postpartum depression and stress levels, and the promotion of bonding. Kangaroo Care also gives moms a chance to learn about their baby’s hunger cues and temperament.
Can I still have skin to skin time right after a C-section?
So what do you do if you have a c- section? Will your baby miss out on that glorious initial Kangaroo Care time? Nope! Skin to skin can still be done in the operating room in many cases as long as it is deemed safe to do so by the physicians and mom is feeling up to it.
If mom is placed under general anesthesia for a c- section and/or unwell, mom’s partner can do the initial Kangaroo Care. Baby will still gain so many benefits and this will give the partner a chance to bond with baby.
What do you do if your baby is born prematurely?
Kangaroo Care is extremely important for infants born prematurely. Depending on any immediate interventions your baby may need, this may not be possible immediately following their delivery. However, as soon as you and baby are able to, Kangaroo Care would be so beneficial for you both. Kangaroo Care has been said to be even more important for premature infants. So get in alllll those snuggles!
Be an advocate for yourself and your baby! If someone tries to whisk baby away within that first hour to weigh or do something unnecessary at that exact time, politely decline. Keep the atmosphere as calm as possible, decline immediate visitors and utilize this time to help you and your baby transition. Enjoy this beautiful moment.