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Healthy You

Skin-to-Skin Cuddling Benefits You and Baby

Wednesday, April 04, 2018 7:56 AM

It’s a moment a lot of new mothers wait for – the second they can hold their brand new baby that they were just carrying for nine months. Dads too cannot wait to partake in the snuggle sessions, which is important because contact from both parents is vital for babies! Did you know that cuddling your baby – specifically skin-to-skin contact – has so many benefits?

Skin-to-Skin Cuddles

The first three months of a child’s life has been referred to as the “fourth trimester” as it is a time that a baby comes from a dark, comfortable space to the world. Skin-to-skin cuddling can help recreate the womb feel, which helps your baby feel secure and attached to each parent. Ellen Hall, RNC, IBCLC Lactation Consultant Nurse at NorthShore, discusses additional benefits of skin-to-skin cuddling:

  • Improved neurodevelopment as touch is one of the first developed senses according to a new study
  • Increased breastfeeding success
  • Creates a bond with your child that will later grow in life
  • Encourages calmness and relaxation for both mom and baby
  • Improves sleep as cuddling mimics the comfort of the womb
  • Provides cardiorespiratory stability
  • Less initial weight loss
  • Reduced discomfort following painful procedures (blood tests, circumcision, vaccinations)
  • Stabilizes blood glucose levels
  • Improved immune function

Cuddling not only helps the baby, but helps new moms, too. Some studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact can minimize the risk of postpartum depression. It increases hormones associated with establishing good milk production, and increases maternal feelings of bonding and attachment to her baby.

At NorthShore, we follow safe skin-to-skin practices immediately after birth for healthy newborns and throughout the postpartum hospital stay.