Friday, March 26, 2010

Skin-to-Skin Contact

The other day my friend and I were discussing her excitement over the fact that she gets to use her brand new Moby Wrap with her brand new baby due any day now. I told her that she can do skin-to-skin contact while wearing the Moby and be mostly covered. That way she can walk around the house with ease and not worry about flashing the neighbors. We did decide that it might be a good idea to at least keep a bra on considering what happens to a woman's breasts postpartum! It's probably advisable to keep you both dry ;). Anyway, our discussion reminded me of the importance of skin-to-skin contact.

This was drilled into Josh and I at the hospital during Carson’s first week of life by the lactation consultant. During that time Carson was one stressed out little guy so when he got into a screaming fit, Josh would tuck him under his shirt and he would calm instantly. We later learned that skin-to-skin contact with an infant is a natural pain reliever because it releases endorphins that act as an analgesic. Yet this is something we didn’t do at home. We were so silly back then! It was November and cold when Carson was born so we were usually pretty bundled up and I worried about taking his clothes off and freezing him. The Moby would have solved this issue, I just didn’t know about the Moby until Carson was 4 months old. Once I discovered the Moby online, I ran out to Mother’s Haven and bought one. It’s been a highly used carrier by us and I can’t wait to use it with our next child, who I will be doing a ton of skin-to-skin with (no, I'm not pregnant yet).

It makes sense that this simple thing would be so beneficial considering that in the womb they have 24/7 skin-to-skin. Also, don’t worry about spoiling your baby! Even if you held your infant for hours during the day, that is significantly less time than they were being held just a short time ago in your womb! Skin-to-skin is even more important for preemies. It actually effects their success rate. This article is a great read about kangaroo care:

This is also something that the husbands can participate in. While hubby is sitting on the couch watching TV, place naked baby (with diaper on of course) under his shirt, and now back away slowly and take this time to relax. Take a bubble bath, go for a walk, or just take a nap.

Here are some of the many benefits to skin-to-skin contact:

Improved Bonding
Increased Milk Production
Pain relieving effects for infant (super useful for colic)
Directly after birth and for short time after: regulation of heart rate, temperature, and breathing, and raises blood glucose levels in infant
Significantly reduces crying & helps baby to de-stress

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