Research has shown that holding infants skin-to-skin immediately following birth has countless benefits for both mother and baby. Barb Kramer RNC, BSN, Family Birthing Center, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, explains what skin-to-skin care looks like at Parkview, and helps us understand the incredible difference it can make in the delivery room.
What does skin-to-skin care mean at Parkview?
Parkview began implementing skin-to-skin immediately after birth for all vaginal deliveries about two years ago. This means that for any healthy delivery, the baby will spend the first hour of life skin-to-skin with mom and have the first feeding skin-to skin. It’s been proven that this practice is important to infant development, and has become an essential part of our commitment to providing the best care and support for mom and baby.
Prior to the delivery of the baby, a nurse will place a receiving blanket on the mother’s abdomen. The delivering provider will place the baby on the receiving blanket immediately after birth and the baby is dried off, and the cord is clamped and cut. The baby is then placed on the mother’s chest and remains there for the next hour.
What are the benefits of skin-to-skin?
Babies who are placed skin-to-skin early and frequently cry less and stay calm, sleep better, are better able to regulate their breathing, are more successful at breastfeeding, and are better able to regulate their body temperature. A mother’s breasts actually adjust their temperature in response to the temperature of the baby!
Not only does skin-to-skin care positively influence the baby, but it’s been shown to help the mother as well. This first hour is crucial to bonding, and mothers who are able to have skin-to-skin contact with their babies tend to feel more confident, feel less pain, produce more milk, and experience a faster recovery. Creating an environment that encourages skin-to-skin care allows mothers and babies to enjoy this special time to bond with each other, which is another important benefit.
How long after delivery should skin-to-skin continue?
It should continue during your postpartum stay, especially before each feeding. We encourage skin-to-skin as often as the mother likes.
What about C-sections?
We have been encouraging skin-to-skin time in the recovery for our C-section moms but they often miss the opportunity for the immediate skin-to-skin contact. Beginning August 1, we are promoting skin-to-skin immediately after delivery. We are very excited that we can now provide this wonderful experience to all our mothers who deliver healthy newborns.