Because of increased research and awareness of the 'golden hour' - the period immediately after a mother gives birth and bonds with her newborn - skin-to-skin contact is often associated with mothers and babies. While this period is very important, helping to boost baby's ability to receive breastfeeding, support their immune system, improve cognitive development and strengthen the baby-parent bond, the benefits of skin-to-skin contact extend far beyond the maternity ward.
There are many reasons why skin-to-skin time, sometimes called 'kangaroo care', is as important for dad and baby as it is for mom. Here are some of the ways skin-to-skin care benefits both daddy and baby.
Skin-to-skin Contact Releases a Hormone Necessary for Bonding
Contending with nine months of mom bonding with baby before the little one has even arrived, it's common for some dads to feel a little alienated when it comes to navigating father-baby bonding. The good news is, skin-to-skin contact is one of the simplest and most effective ways for daddy to bond with his newborn. Research by Dr. Nils Bergman skin-to-skin shows just 30 minutes of skin-to-skin with dad actually rewires dad’s brain!
When a dad brings baby to their chest, Oxytocin, often referred to as the 'love' or 'feel-good' hormone, is released. Dad's testosterone levels also decrease, making both dad and baby feel lighter, more relaxed and at ease when sharing these new and special moments.
In turn, this helps dad to respond in a nurturing and affectionate way toward baby and create a stronger bond. With a higher sensitivity to and awareness of baby’s needs, dad is likely to feel more tuned-in to his infant and more confident about their parenting skills.
In fact, dads who have practiced skin-to-skin are shown to be more interactive with their kids, and report a stronger bond with them long term. The Joeyband™ is available in three different sizes to accommodate different shapes and body frames, making it a modern, more inclusive way for all parents to safely practice skin-to-skin contact with the newest member of the family. Read more about the five main differences between the Joeyband™ and other babywearing products.
It Keeps Baby Warm and Provides Comfort
It may sound pretty obvious, but one of the benefits of skin-to-skin contact is its effectiveness in keeping baby warm. It also helps to soothe baby, with babies who are held skin-to-skin being 12 times less likely to cry!
However, while a woman’s biological breast tissue automatically adjusts to regulate baby's body temperature - making baby cooler or warmer - an individual without breast tissue, for example a man, only heats baby. It's therefore recommended that dad only holds baby skin-to-skin for sixty minutes at a time to avoid causing your newborn to get uncomfortably cozy! These shorter periods are perfect for taking turns with your partner!
Your Newborn Baby’s Stress Levels Become Lower, and Physiological Development Increases
Emerging into the bright, noisy world after spending nine months in the dark comfort of the womb is a big shock for babies! Skin-to-skin contact helps your baby to feel safe, and they will also be able to hear and recognize familiar sounds while snuggling, like daddy’s voice.
Studies show that babies who are held skin-to-skin are more physiologically stable than babies who aren't. In addition to less crying, skin-to-skin with dad can cause baby's cortisol levels (also known as the stress hormone) to drop after only 20 minutes of being held. It also helps to stabilize baby's breathing, heart rate, blood sugar levels and even lower their pain response.
We hear a lot about how skin-to-skin contact between babies and mothers boosts babies’ immune systems, but the same is true for baby when held by daddy. A dad’s immune system is able to pass antibodies from their skin, making baby more resistant to illness.
Daddy Can Have Hands-Free Movement While Practicing Skin-to-Skin care
Skin-to-skin contact with your newborn is one of life’s most rewarding experiences, and experts recommend maximizing skin-to-skin contact with your baby throughout the fourth trimester and beyond. With the help of the Joeyband™, dad and baby can reap the benefits of skin-to-skin contact without sacrificing hand mobility!
Our safe, secure design means that dad can get those all important snuggles in while being hands free to ping the family chat new baby updates (or even sneak in a quick game of Minecraft!). Most importantly, the Joeyband™ keeps baby safe during skin-to-skin contact, and allows new parents to feel as comfortable as possible caring for their new, precious addition.
So whether daddy holds baby an hour after birth, throughout the Fourth Trimester or even further into baby's life, skin-to-skin contact will always be an effective form of babycare, helping dad to forge a bond with the newborn that will last a lifetime.