We recommend the early skin to skin contact right after the baby arrives. It used to be called kangaroo care.
What it is skin to skin contact?
The baby will be placed in between the mother’s chest. The baby should have a direct contact to the mother’s skin.
This method was discovered in South America when premature babies were born. At that time, there were not enough incubators for all premature babies so the doctors placed the babies on their mothers’ bare chests to keep their body temperatures stable. It was proven that this method was effective for temperature adjustment and breathing stimulus. Starting that time, the mortality rate of premature babies dramatically decreased and the bonding between the mother and her baby was deepened. The care that was originally used for premature babies was later found to be very useful and effective for newborn babies as well.
An article published by a Swedish researcher showed the amazing abilities of newborn babies. A series of images showed that when a newborn baby was placed on the mother`s chest, the baby gradually opened his/her eyes, shook his/her neck, kick his/her mother’s stomach to get closer to her chest, and find her nipple to suck.
There are various positive results of early skin to skin contact with the baby and the mother. This method brings about the rise in breastfeed childcare rate, affection between the mother and the baby, and the decrease of crying babies’ rate. It also promotes good sleep for the babies, stable body temperature, infection prevention, and so on.
It is surprisingly amazing that babies tend not to cry when skin to skin contact is given to them. It said that newborn babies cry because they are pulled away from their mothers. However, when the baby is put on his/her mother’s bare chest and held by the mother, the baby naturally stops crying and looks comfortable. Crying can be very stressful and strenuous to the newborns. Therefore, it is good for babies to start skin to skin contact early for them to avoid unnecessary stress.
How is early skin to skin contact administered?
- Place the baby naked on the mother`s bare chest right after the baby is born. If the mother needs a treatment, it comes first before the early skin to skin care. However, if the mother and the baby are healthy, the baby can be on the mother`s chest for about 2 hours after the delivery. (A sensor will be attached to a baby to measure the concentration of oxygen in the blood. This process is painless to the baby since it is just plastered to the baby`s leg.)
- The baby may look calm on the mother`s chest and look very relieved; however, take note he/she is not sleeping so please talk to him/her. The baby may open his/her eyes when he/she recognizes the voice that is familiar. It is recommended that the room light should be dimmed or devise the room not to have direct sunlight so that it is not too bright for the baby when he/she opens his/her eyes.
- It was heaven for the baby when he/she was still in the womb. There was no pain and it was quiet and warm like heaven. The baby can feel relief when he or she is held on mother`s chest in different way than being in womb after the big event called birth.
Early skin to skin contact at home
Early skin to skin contact is also effective when the baby is crying so much at home. The baby loves to be held like they are wrapped around.
Please let the father try the early skin to skin contact also. The father will also hold the baby on his bare chest. Kangaroo won`t be able to hold its baby kangaroo but human fathers can. It is the father`s turn to step up and do the early skin to skin care when the mother is tired.