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Skin To Skin Contact

Skin to Skin Contact

In the earliest moments of life, one the most important things that can be provided to a newborn is skin-to-skin contact. When a child that has developed to full term and is born without complication is determined to be healthy enough at the time of their birth, they are placed faced down on their mother's bare chest, allowing for intimate moments of bonding when the skin of the parent is in direct contact with the skin of the child. If the child is not immediately available for this bonding moment with the mother - such as if she delivered via C-section, for example - this skin-to-skin contact can be delivered by the other parent, or can be given when both mother and child are physically and emotionally ready.

The benefits of skin-to-skin contact are vast. Breathing and heart rates in newborns who are given this contact tend to normalize faster than their counterparts; the same can be said about the stabilization of the infant's body temperature. Because each of these elements was controlled by the mother's body while the child was in utero, this close connection with the mother after the birth of the child allows for a more seamless transition to life outside the womb. Studies have also suggested that infants who are given this skin-to-skin contact in the earliest hours of their lives are generally more successful with breastfeeding, specifically in the task of locating and latching on to the mother's breast. All in all, infants who are given this close contact transition better to life outside the womb, experiencing a more seamless movement and fewer hurdles to overcome one they are physically disconnected from their mother's body.

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