That first skin to skin moment with your new baby is one of the most magical and intimate moments you’ll ever experience, a memory I’ll certainly treasure forever. Skin to Skin has been proven to promote bonding, encourage the first feed and to help regulate your baby’s heart rate, breathing and temperature, so it’s amazingly important too. After birth, most mothers have their baby placed on their chest as soon as possible to start skin to skin. After being inclosed in the womb for all this time, the baby is comforted by your warm skin and the sound of your heart beat and the big wide world doesn’t seem such a scary place for them anymore. This triggers a powerful hormonal release in the mother too, a rush of overwhelming love and urge to protect – honestly, I’ve never felt anything like it.
The power of skin to skin contact should really not be underestimated, however after that initial moment many of us forget that it’s something that can be practiced long term too. So, I’ve teamed up with Waterwipes discuss my experience of skin to skin and the benefit of prolonged use at home as well as some tips for fitting skin-to-skin into your daily routine too!
Firstly, watch this video – I challenge you all not to cry….. (I failed!)
Violet had quite a traumatic birth, she was delivered by ventouse and immediately whisked into a resuscitator, so I didn’t have the magical moment we dream about at first. However, once the panic was over and Violet had been fully checked over, the midwife helped me snuggle my brand new baby to my skin and it was just magical. After a stressful start to life, she instantly calmed and we looked into each others eyes for the first time, a meeting we’d both been waiting for so long – she was finally here. Looking at her little face, she was so small, so vulnerable, I just wanted to wrap her up and hold her as close to me as possible. Our skin to skin contact encouraged her to take her first feed. Amazingly newborn babies know where to go for their first feed and within minutes she nuzzled around for my milk.
During our first few weeks together, skin-to-skin contact really got us through some difficult times. After her birth she was a fractious little thing – she’d had a rough start, with a ventouse delivery and a giant bump to the head, jaundice and a long stay in hospital – there is no wonder she was feeling anxious about being in the world! Skin-to-skin contact with her really helped us through those first few weeks – I’m not sure where we’d be without it. It worked as the perfect calming technique through bouts of colic or after her bath time (which she hated!) I also think it really helped with our bonding experience – I certainly felt confused by this little bundle that had suddenly come into my life. I’d never really cared for a baby before, so at the beginning she’d scream and I had no idea what she wanted or needed from me, it was all guess work. Spending time holding her, regulating our bodies together seemed to connect us both mentally as well as physically. Suddenly I felt more attuned to what she needed from me, I understood her needs and what she needed with every cry.
In Violet’s first few months of life we have tried to incorporate skin-to-skin into our routine where possible. Those special moments, cuddled on the sofa under a blanket are once in a lifetime. Before we know it, she’ll be a little girl, crawling and running about and won’t want to sit still for a cuddle! The moments holding her close now are priceless to me and so important to her too – she knows she’s safe and with her Mummy who will protect her at all times which makes her a much calmer baby all round.
GIVE IT A GO!
So, you can try skin-to-skin with your baby at any time. Just undress your baby down to their nappy and place them on your chest. It’s really as simple as that! If it’s chilly in the room, wrap up under a blanket to keep you both warm. It’s important to mention this applies to both parents too!
Here are some of the amazing benefits you’ll achieve:
- Encourage babies natural urge to feed
- Regulate babies heartbeat and breathing to calm and soothe
- Regulate temperature and keep baby warm
- Encourage bonding between parent and baby
- Encourage the release of hormones related to breastmilk supply and breastfeeding
Has skin to skin helped bonding with your new baby? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below!
Post in collaboration with WaterWipes