Fall in Love
Being together in the first hour is a special way to feel your baby's love. Home is in your arms, skin-to-skin. Baby wants to be near you more than anything, and will stop crying and become calm when she is with you. It's a bond that will last forever.
“Skin-to-skin” is a special way to hold your baby close right after birth. Your baby’s bare body is against your chest, heart-to-heart. This helps keep baby warm and calms both baby AND mom. In this calm zone, baby will begin to get used to you and his new world. It also helps your baby get off to a good start with breastfeeding. In fact, skin-to-skin helps your baby latch on all by himself!
How to Do Skin-to-Skin
It’s simple. The nurse will help you hold your baby skin-to-skin right after birth. Just do the following and watch the magic happen.
Skin-to-Skin Is Easy to Do
It’s easy to hold your baby skin-to-skin. Your champion or the nurse will help you get comfortable, and will place the baby on your chest right after birth.
Keep Baby Warm
The nurse may wipe your baby a little once he’s on your chest. This helps keep the baby from getting too cold. Your bare chest will warm your baby best. A blanket across the baby’s back will also help keep cold air from chilling him.
Get Help From Your Nurse
Your nurse will stay with you to watch both you and your baby. The room will be kept quiet and peaceful so you and baby can relax. You and your champion can now enjoy this special time together as you welcome baby to your family.
As mom’s champion, you are her biggest support. You can help her feel comfortable and confident holding her baby skin-to-skin. If she’s modest, ask for a small blanket or towel to cover her and the baby. Help her lower her bed so she is leaning back but still able to see the baby.
Help with Other Family and Friends
You can also help with visitors. Tell them this special skin-to-skin time with baby will take around an hour. They will have many chances to see the baby after that.
You can do skin-to-skin even when…
The first hour is a magical time for you and your champion to fall in love with your baby. You've waited a long time for this special moment! Other family and friends will have plenty of chances to hold the baby later. Be sure to prepare them before you get to the hospital so they know what to expect and can support you.
If you had labor drugs, your baby may be a little sleepy. Be sure your baby can breathe easily. Your nurse can show you what to watch for so your baby stays safe.
Your baby’s weight, length and other procedures will be done after skin-to-skin. Your nurse will monitor both you and your baby very closely. If you or your baby becomes ill, skin-to-skin may not be possible or may be delayed. Ask if it is possible for your support person to hold the baby skin-to-skin if you are not able to. Look forward to holding your baby skin-to-skin as soon as you are both able.
It’s easy to cover your chest when doing skin-to-skin. A towel or light blanket can be placed across the baby’s back to cover you and keep baby warm. Ask for more blankets, if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Right after birth, babies may still have fluid and a white pasty substance called vernix on their skin. They are not dirty! This fluid is actually good for their delicate skin. It also protects the baby from infection. Babies stay warm and calm when we wait to clean them.
Skin-to-skin is important no matter how your baby is born. If you have a C-section, the doctor and nurse will make sure both you and the baby are stable first. Many moms hold their baby skin-to-skin while the doctor closes their incision. If you are not able to hold the baby, ask if your support person can hold the baby skin-to-skin until you can.
Skin-to-skin is good for all babies and mothers, no matter how you feed your baby.
The most important thing after birth is helping baby to calm while skin-to-skin. The baby can be weighed after this special time.
If you and your baby are both doing well, you should be able to hold your baby skin-to-skin for at least an hour after the birth. Babies who are breastfeeding take about that long to look for the breast and latch on by themselves. If you had medications during your labor, your baby might be sleepy and take a little longer.
Skin-to-skin is important even after the first hour. Right after your first time together, the baby nurse will weigh and measure your baby and give needed medication. Once you are together again, you can hold your baby skin-to-skin in your room. In fact, the more baby is skin-to-skin with you, the more he will breastfeed. This helps your milk production get started more quickly. Once you are home, you can do skin-to-skin whenever you wish to help your baby feel calm and relaxed.
And there you have it
Skin-to-skin is awesome. The benefits are incredible, and it’s a magical time you’ll cherish forever. Best of all, you don’t have to do any work at all. You just let nature take its course. Be sure to tell your hospital you want skin-to-skin right after birth. You won’t want to miss it!