Skin to Skin
Skin to skin contact helps your baby feel safe and secure.
When your baby is born we will encourage you to hold your baby in skin contact for at least an hour but the longer the better. Babies need lots of skin contact with their mothers in the early days.
We encourage dads to have some skin contact with baby as well. We also encourage you to give your baby their first feed in skin contact (breast and bottle feeds). Keep your baby in skin contact as much as possible in the first few days. Vest tops and low necked T-shirts are useful clothes to wear in hospital to make skin to skin contact easier.
Why is skin contact so important?
- It makes your baby feel safe and secure
- It releases the hormone oxytocin which helps your baby’s brain to grow and develop.
- It keeps your baby warm
- It helps you and your baby to recover from the birth.
- It helps protect your baby from infection
- It encourages your baby to look for the breast and want to breastfeed.
Your newborn baby needs to know you are close all the time. They will be used to hearing your voice and hearing your heart beat and so skin contact helps your baby to feel safe.
Getting to know your new baby and responding to their needs
Your baby’s brain is going to develop very rapidly during their first two years and there are lots of things you can do to help your baby’s brain to develop well.
- Cuddling your baby
- Kissing your baby
- Responding to your baby when they cry
- Talking to your baby
- Making eye contact with your baby.
This will all help your baby to feel safe and secure and this will help good brain development.
Newborn babies don’t need toys they just need their parents to respond to them.
For more information visit www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly