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Women and Family Care

Skin-to-skin care

Skin-to-skin care is a way of holding your baby to allow him or her to be closer to you. Your baby is naked (with possibly a diaper on) and is held between the mother's breasts or on the father's chest.

We understand how valuable this precious first hour after birth is and we know this opportunity is one to be cherished.

Our goal is to allow you at least 60 minutes of this important time between you and your baby. We will do our best to support this model of care as long as the mother and the baby are physically stable and able to participate in this time together. If you or your baby aren't able to participate immediately in this time together, we will do our very best to give you that opportunity as soon as we can.

This is one of the first things you as parents can do for your baby and it is a crucial first step in really getting to know your baby.

What are the benefits of "skin-to-skin" care?

Through evidence based practice, we know that skin-to-skin contact during the first hour of life and thereafter has multiple benefits for both you as parents and your baby. The first and most important is that overall skin-to-skin promotes infant-parent bonding and attachment. Some other benefits are:

For baby:

  • A more stable heart rate and more regular breathing.
  • Stimulation to breast-feed and gain the benefits of human milk.
  • Improved circulation and better use of oxygen throughout the body.
  • Longer periods of alertness and longer periods of sleep.
  • More rapid weight gain.
  • Increased likelihood of going home from the hospital earlier.
  • Being soothed by listening to the sound of the parent's heartbeat.
  • Being calmed by the gentle rocking of a parent's breathing.

For parents:

  • Feeling of special closeness with your baby.
  • Mother feels more confident/controlled in her ability to care for her baby.
  • Stimulates production of breastmilk.
  • You both may feel more comfortable taking your baby home.
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