Healthcare Professionals, click here

Why Skin-to-Skin Contact After Birth is So Important

fourth trimester checklist

Your baby’s first sixty minutes outside the womb is a world of ‘firsts’. First lungfuls of air are gulped, changes in temperature are felt and they may experience hunger or thirst. Above all that, it’s the first time they will meet their mom!  

As your baby rapidly adjusts to their new environment, experiencing skin-to-skin contact with their mothers plays a crucial stage in their early development. Those first sixty minutes after birth - also known as the ‘Golden Hour’ - is an uninterrupted period of time where a baby lies belly-down on their parent’s uncovered chest. 

We know skin-to-skin benefits babies and their parents into the Fourth Trimester and beyond.In this post, we focus on why it’s so important immediately after birth. 

Skin-to-Skin Encourages Bonding and Relaxation

You may have bonded with your baby during the nine months they were in the womb, but now it’s time to get to know each other now they’re out in the world. 

Studies show that skin-to-skin contact right after delivery causes the brain to release a hormone called beta-endorphin. This works like a mild painkiller, helping mom feel calmer and more relaxed. Oxytocin is also released, the brain’s “feel-good” hormone that promotes bonding. 

In medical room procedures where mothers deliver their baby via Caesarean, they may find it more challenging to support their baby during the Golden Hour period. The Joeyband™ 's patented, simple velcro wrap-around design will provide you and your baby with the support necessary for skin-to-skin contact, regardless of delivery method.  

The Golden Hour Supports Breastfeeding 

Studies and research (like this Stanford one) have shown that babies who maintain skin-to-skin contact with their mothers during the Golden Hour period are more likely to latch on to the breast. Read our blog, How Skin-to-Skin Supports Breastfeeding to learn more!

Skin-to-Skin Protects your Baby’s Immune System

As well as enabling your baby to latch on to the breast, practicing skin-to-skin has been shown to help the colostrum (the first, nutrient-rich breast milk to protect your baby) to flow more easily.

This is important as the colostrum - a thick, sticky liquid that is sometimes called ‘liquid gold’  - is full of unique disease-fighting antibodies called immunoglobulins that strengthen your baby's immune system. When you feed your newborn colostrum, it's as though you're giving him his first vaccination.

Skin-to-skin immediately after birth also enables the colonisation of baby’s skin with the mother’s friendly bacteria, which provides protection against infection,

It Helps to Regulate Baby’s Heart Rate and Breathing 

Childbirth takes a toll on a mother’s physical and emotional state; meanwhile, baby is still rapidly adapting to the outside world. It’s a magical time, but it can be stressful, too!

Skin-to-skin stabilizes baby’s heart rate, breathing and blood sugar level. It also releases hormones to calm and relax parents, helping to make your first hour of parenthood even more special. 

Are you expecting a baby, or maybe you have a newborn? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter for our latest news and updates, or for more useful, baby-handling knowledge from our experienced Joeyband™ team.