Skin-to-Skin

Healthy babies should be placed skin-to-skin as soon as possible after birth for at least an hour to help them adjust to their new environment.

Your bare chest is the best place for your baby to be! When your baby is placed skin-to-skin, they can hear you, smell you, see you and it can help you get to know each other.

Ask your health care provider to include skin-to-skin contact in your birth plan.

Premature babies and those delivered by C-section also benefit from skin-to-skin. Ask your health care provider if this is an option while your baby is staying in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

As your baby grows, continue cuddling them skin-to-skin often.

It's Easy! Here is how:

Place your baby wearing only a diaper, with their tummy on you or your partner's bare chest. If you wish, you can then place a light blanket over both of you.

  • Anyone can do it
  • You can do it sitting or lying down
  • It is never too late to start

Benefits for baby

  • Cry less and are calmer
  • Stay warmer
  • Have more stable heart rates, breathing, and blood sugars
  • Protected by some of your good bacteria
  • Breastfeed better

Benefits for mother

  • Reduced stress
  • Increased bonding and attachment with the baby
  • Helps control body temperature
  • Gain confidence caring for your baby
  • Learn when your baby is getting hungry

Skin-to-skin has many great benefits for breastfeeding. For more information about skin-to-skin and breastfeeding, see Getting the Best Start.

If you are feeling tired while holding your baby skin-to-skin, put your baby in a safe sleep environment so you do not fall asleep while holding her.

You can also ask a support person to hold your baby so you can rest. For more information about safe sleep environments, see Safe Sleeping for Babies.


Resources

Skin to Skin Fact Sheet

Skin to Skin Poster

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