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Maternity Services
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Skin-to-Skin Contact for You and Your Baby

Skin-to-skin means your baby is placed belly-down, directly on your chest, right after she is born. Your care provider dries her off, puts on a hat, and covers her with a warm blanket, and gets her settled on your chest. The first hours of snuggling skin-to-skin let you and your baby get to know each other. Skin-to-skin contact also has important health benefits.

Skin-to-Skin Contact

If your baby needs to meet the pediatricians first, or if you deliver by c-section, you can unwrap her and cuddle shortly after birth. Newborns crave skin-to-skin contact, but it's sometimes overwhelming for new moms. It's ok to start slowly as you get to know your baby.

Breastfeeding

Snuggling gives you and your baby the best start for breastfeeding. Research studies have shown that skin-to-skin babies breastfeed better and are more likely to latch on. They also keep nursing an average of six weeks longer. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breastfeeding babies spend time skin-to-skin right after birth. Keeping your baby skin-to-skin in his first few weeks makes it easy to know when to feed him, especially if he is a little sleepy.

A Smooth Transition

Your chest is the best place for your baby to adjust to life in the outside world. Compared with babies who are swaddled or kept in a crib, skin-to-skin babies feel more stable, stay warmer and calmer, cry less, and have better blood sugars. Skin-to-skin also helps babies with heart rate and blood pressure.

Bonding

Skin-to-skin cuddling may affect how you relate with your baby. Researchers have watched mothers and infants in the first few days after birth, and they noticed that skin-to-skin moms touch and cuddle their babies more. Even a year later, skin-to-skin moms snuggled more with their babies during a visit to their pediatrician.

Skin-to-Skin Beyond the Delivery Room

Keep cuddling skin-to-skin after you leave the hospital-your baby will stay warm and comfortable on your chest, and the benefits for bonding, soothing, and breastfeeding likely continue well after birth. Skin-to-skin can help keep your baby interested in nursing if he's sleepy.

Dads can snuggle, too. Fathers and mothers who hold babies skin-to-skin help keep them calm and cozy.

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Yale School of Medicine
Magnet Recognition Best Hospitals 2012-2013

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