Mothers and babies have a physiologic need to be together at the moment of birth and during the hours and days that follow. Keeping mothers and babies together helps relax mom and baby so that both sleep better.
Evidence supports immediate, uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact after l birth for all healthy mothers and babies. Unlimited opportunities for skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding promote optimal maternal and child outcomes.
The World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund recommend healthy mothers and babies have uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact (SSC)immediately after birth for at least one hour and until after the end of the first successful breast feeding. Skin-to-skin contact (SSC) is described as placing dried, unclothed newborns on their mother’s bare chest, with warmed light blankets or towels covering the newborn’s back.
Skin-to-skin contact reduces mom’s stress hormone levels and increases maternal levels of the oxytocin. Oxytocin reduces maternal stress, helps with breast milk production and facilitates post- birth uterine contraction which is important for postpartum maternal health.
Oxytocin helps babies to relax, feel calm and overcome the stress related to birth. Calm babies sleep better and sleep is very important to your baby’s development.
Here are a few more ways SSC helps your baby
- Helps with Temperature regulation
- Regulates breathing
- Improves oxygen saturation level
- Slows the heart rate
- Regulates blood pressure
- Helps to stabilize blood sugar
Routine separation of healthy mothers and babies can be harmful and can negatively influence short- and long-term health outcomes, breastfeeding success and disrupt sleep patterns.