What is skin to skin?
Placing a naked newborn or infant directly on mom’s bare chest between her breasts. Mom’s body heat will keep her little one warm. Once the infant is safely on mom’s chest, place a blanket over her infant’s back - this will keep the infant from losing heat to the air. And yes, a diaper and hat are okay to keep on.
Why is skin to skin good for breastfeeding?
Not only does skin to skin help maintain, or elevate, an infant’s body temperature, skin to skin helps stimulate the infant’s brain. Skin to skin awakens an infant’s natural instincts to root, latch and breastfeed. Bonding, emotional and social development happens in this intimate position too.
Sleepy newborn? Latch concerns?
If you haven’t tried using skin to skin yet, try it.
NEWBORN – Caring for a sleepy baby that hasn’t awaken to eat in several hours? Place the baby skin to skin. Leave mom and baby for 10 minutes and come back. You will be surprised that more than likely the baby has already started rooting or has even latched on and is breastfeeding.
INFANT – If you have a mom who is having issues with latch or milk supply, try it. Skin to skin helps both mom and infant relax and enjoy just being with each other. Skin to skin also stimulates hormones related to milk making.
Written by: Pamela K. Murphy, PhD, MS, APRN, CNM, IBCLC
Nurse-midwife, lactation consultant, OB nurse, educator, healthcare administrator, mother & wife