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Skin to skin contact after birth

You may have heard that it is important to have a lot of skin to skin contact with the baby after birth. For example, it is advised to (if possible) leave your baby on the mother’s stomach for at least an hour immediately after birth. So just skin to skin, but why is that so important?

To investigate
The effect of skin-to-skin contact has been widely researched. It has been shown, for example, that it reduces stress in both mother and child. Not only shortly after birth, but also afterwards.

From research also shows that it helps the baby to get a stable and normal temperature. Sometimes even better than the incubator. Furthermore, the skin to skin contact ensures a stable and calm heartbeat, blood pressure and good blood sugars. Because of the contact with the mother, babies seem to become calmer. For example, it has been shown that babies who need oxygen and receive skin-to-skin contact; the need for supplemental oxygen decreases and their stability increases.

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From other research shows that skin to skin contact also contributes to the development of the brains. Which, certainly in premature babies, can still be essential.

Effects on breastfeeding

Skin to skin contact is also very important for a good start of breastfeeding. By means of skin-to-skin contact, mother and child exchange sensory information, which stimulates the baby in its natural urge for the breast. For example, he will look for the nipple himself. Chances are that with some help from the mother, the baby will be able to find and latch on the breast itself. This increases the chance of a good and long breastfeeding period. Good latch on is important to prevent nipple complaints. In addition, the baby learns to recognize the smell of the skin and the milk which promotes milk intake.

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Positive Effects

Skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth, for at least an hour (and then as often as possible, day and night, during the first few weeks) has many positive effects . As:

  • Great chance of breastfeeding yourself.
  • Great chance of good bites.
  • Increased satisfaction of the mother with breastfeeding.
  • Less stress for the mother.
  • Less birth stress in the baby (less crying)
  • More desire from the mother to hold her child.
  • A stable and normal skin temperature.
  • A stable and normal heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Good blood sugars.
  • A potentially long exclusive breastfeeding period.
  • Good ability to indicate the need for the breast yourself.

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