It's written about in the books, mentioned on the apps and highlighted in the antenatal classes. But why is it so important?
Regardless of the type of birth that you have, skin to skin is something that is encouraged between a mother and her baby. The idea is that as soon as possible you should place your baby on your chest where there is nothing between your skin and theirs. More often than not the baby will fall asleep very quickly. It recognises your scent.
Skin to skin is important for many reasons. It helps regulate the baby's body temperature, encourages your baby to come to the breast to drink breast milk and similarly encourages your body to produce milk for the baby.
If your baby is premature it may be referred to as “kangaroo care” but skin to skin contact will comfort your baby and encourage development.
You may not be able to hold your baby immediately after birth in some cases. Perhaps you had a Caesarean or required some after-care. In this case, it is encouraged to do skin to skin with your baby as soon as you feel ready.
Let's not forget about the fathers also. In many instances, a father will enjoy doing skin to skin with his baby. It is another way of comforting the baby. The baby enjoys the warmth of his skin, the sound of his heartbeat and the tone of his voice which baby no doubt will recognise from all those times he spoke to the baby through your belly.
When we experience skin to skin with our babies it is often the first time we get that “new baby smell”. It is one of the most euphoric and calming smells in this world. It appeals to us on an emotional, physical and even hormonal level.
As babies grow they become more and more independent but on some level skin to skin and physical affection will always be something that comforts them and gives them a sense of security.