Get Ready
Fall in Love
Keep Baby Close
Learn Your Baby
Protect Breastfeeding

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-SkinMagical First HourFirst FeedDelayed Procedures


“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.

  • Lie back slightly and have the baby placed on your bare chest.
  • Ask for a light blanket or towel on the baby’s back to keep her warm.
  • Talk softly to your baby – she knows your voice!
  • Keep your baby skin-to-skin. Watch baby go through important steps to learn about her world.
  • Entering this new world is scary. I am cold, and everything is loud!
  • I don’t know these strange people and smells. I cry because I want to be near my mom again where I feel safe.
  • When I lie against your chest, I feel your skin and hear your heartbeat.
  • I look up and see you for the first time and know your voice when you say hello.
  • Things don’t seem so scary anymore. I begin to calm and my heart rate slows.
  • I feel at home and I’m ready to begin my magical first hour with you.

When mom holds baby skin-to-skin, you have an important role, too. In fact, you can both enjoy this special time together!

  • Ask family and friends to wait an hour or so until after this time together.
  • Talk softly to the baby. She knows your voice, too!
  • Watch to be sure the baby stays safe if mom gets sleepy. Make sure the baby can breathe well. Your nurse will help you with this.
  • Show mom how the baby loves being close to her.
  • If mom is not able to hold the baby skin-to-skin, ask if you can do so. Babies enjoy being close to someone who cares.

You can do skin-to-skin even when…

Visitors Want to Hold Your Baby

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.

Baby is Sleepy

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.

You or Your Baby Have Complications

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.

You are Modest

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

Should my Baby Be Wiped Off First?

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.

What if I have a C-section?

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.

Can I still do skin to skin if I don’t plan to breastfeed?

Skin-to-skin is good for all babies and mothers, no matter how you feed your baby.

Should my baby be weighed first?

The most important thing after birth is helping baby to calm while skin-to-skin. The baby can be weighed after this special time.

How long will I get to hold my baby skin to skin?

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.

Can I continue to hold my baby skin to skin after the first hour?

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.

How physicians help moms
How nurses help moms

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!