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The Importance of Skin-to-Skin Contact

UntitledThere are now a multitude of studies that show that mothers and babies should be together, skin-to- skin (baby naked, not wrapped in a blanket) immediately after birth, as well as later.
The baby is happier; the baby’s temperature, heart, and breathing rates are more stable and normal; and the baby’s blood sugar is elevated. In addition, skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth allows the baby to be colonized by the same bacteria as the mother. This, plus breastfeeding, are thought tobe important in the prevention of allergic diseases. When a baby is put into an incubator, his skin and gut are often colonized by bacteria different from his mother’s.

To recap, skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth for at least an hour has the following positive effects on babies:

  1. more likely to latch on
  2. more likely to latch on well
  3. more stable and normal skin temperatures
  4. more stable and normal heart rates and blood pressures
  5. higher blood sugars
  6. less likely to cry
  7. more likely to breastfeed exclusively longer

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