7 Reasons Your Baby Needs Skin-To-Skin Contact

Reasons Your Baby Needs Skin-To-Skin Contact

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Read about Kate Ogg, the mother who brought her preterm son back to life from his supposed ‘death.’ Her son Jamie was 2lb 3oz at the time of birth. Doctors told the couple that their son had died. But a miracle happened.

Kate and her husband were in a state of denial. She kept talking and stroking little Jamie for five minutes, and suddenly he moved. The couple called out for the doctor, but he explained it as a mere ‘reflex.’ But Kate didn’t give up. She and her husband continued to talk to their son when the little Jamie gasped for air. And what was to follow – after two hours of skin-to-skin contact the miracle came to life – Jamie opened his eyes. The couple sent out for the doctor who came in reluctantly only to be taken aback by the whole thing.

Now Jamie is four years old. And he is doing well. He and his twin sister are completely on the developmental track as confirmed by their doctors.

Kate credits the survival of Jamie to kangaroo care or skin-to-skin contact. It has also been known to bring down the preterm baby deaths from 70 to 30 percent in the town where it was first practiced. What you need to know though is that skin-to-skin contact is essential even for full-term babies. Here are seven ways babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact:

1.Skin-To-Skin Regulates Baby’s Breathing, Keeps Blood Sugar Levels Higher, And Keeps Baby Warmer:

Mothers regulate the temperature of their breasts to keep their babies at optimum temperature. The temperature of breasts and the warmth of baby alternate with each other. The breast temperature rises sharply by 2 degrees C in two minutes and as soon as the baby is warm, cools off. They heat up again when the baby starts to cool. The homeostasis helps improve the breathing rate – babies could stop breathing momentarily or have slower heart rates at times which could be fixed by this mechanism. Babies’ breathing pattern also synchronize with mother’s breathing pattern and heartbeat. Though the heart-rate of newborns is faster than that of mother’s skin-to-skin sets in a more rhythmical pattern albeit a bit different than mom’s. Also, researchers have found that babies as young as three moths sync their heart-rates with that of mothers within milliseconds of when the mother shows signs of affection like smiling. Isn’t this incredible!

2. Skin-To-Skin Promotes Bonding:

During The Golden Hour, the period after birth when the mother and child have an intense chemical connection, which occurs due to oxytocin or the ‘love hormone’ released by the mother. It helps the uterus contract and plays an important role in bonding. Both the mother and baby have powerful pheromones or scents that attract the two to each other. The baby can also get the ‘scent’ of his mother’s nipple and begin to nurse instinctively.

3. Skin-to-Skin Reduces Postpartum Depression:

Through kangaroo care, there is an intricate hormonal pattern that emerges and prompts mothering emotions and behaviors of well-being. Gestures like holding the baby, kissing, smelling, nursing, snuggling soon after birth can stimulate such hormonal play. It reduces the stress or grief response some mothers have and also keep depression or anxiety at bay. The best thing is skin-to-skin has no side effects like antidepressants or other drugs! And most importantly, it improves maternal mood.

4. Baby Seldom Cries:

Studies have proven that an infant who is exposed to skin-to-skin for as little as three hours will display reduced crying behavior by 43 percent. This apart, it will lower the stress levels in new mothers who don’t know how to calm their baby.

5. Prolonged Uninterrupted Sleep:

Skin-to-skin has also shown that babies fall asleep quickly and for a prolonged period. This also reduces the stress levels of the new mother.

6. Promotes Baby’s Immunity And Gut Health:

Studies have shown that skin-to-skin facilitates stimulates the vagal nerve that increases the size of the villi of a newborn’s gut, thus providing a large surface area for absorbing nutrients. Since the baby is exposed to the normal flora (bacteria) on mother’s skin, it develops immunity, and there are fewer chances of infection.

7. Skin-to-skin Helps Breastfeeding:

It has been found that kangaroo care allows an early onset of breast milk. Such babies also learn to nurse sooner and are on a mother’s feed for longer.

Did you observe any of these benefits through the first skin-to-skin contact with your baby? Write us back. We are always eager to hear from you!

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