Skin to skin contact while feeding your baby

There is a growing body of evidence that skin-to-skin contact after the birth helps babies and their mothers in many ways. It:

  • Calms and relaxes both mother and baby
  • Regulates the baby’s heart rate and breathing, helping them to better adapt to life outside the womb
  • Stimulates digestion and an interest in feeding
  • Regulates temperature
  • Enables colonisation of the baby’s skin with the mother’s friendly bacteria, thus providing protection against infection
  • Stimulates the release of hormones to support breastfeeding and mothering.

Skin to skin contact is a great opportunity for mums and dads to begin and develop close and loving relationships with their baby.

Additional benefits for babies in the neonatal unit:

  • Improves oxygen saturation
  • Reduces cortisol (stress) levels particularly following painful procedures
  • Encourages pre-feeding behaviour
  • Assists with growth
  • May reduce hospital stay
  • If the mother expresses following a period of skin-to-skin contact, her milk volume will improve and the milk expressed will contain the most up-to-date antibodies