Importance of Skin to Skin contact between Mother-Baby
The origin of Mother-Baby Skin to Skin contact: From the time it is an embryo till is becomes fully grown, the baby shares a unique bond with her mother, so much so that she develops great intuitive perception for mother’s emotional and physical state.That is why we midwives call Mother-Baby as a “Diad”, i.e., two entities bound together as one.
A baby inside a mother’s womb in intimately familiar and comfortable with the smells and tastes of the amniotic fluid, the warmth of within the amniotic sac and the “Rhythm” of her mother’s heart.
After birth baby and mother start to become two individuals. However, as it happens in many hospitals baby is wiped “clean”, moved into a warmer, and separated from the mother, ostensibly to be tested according to hospital protocol. Studies have shown that babies who spend time at the mother’s chest, in Skin to Skin state, do better in adapting to the new situation outside the womb, are able to thrive better, and are lesser prone to infections,
Why is that? Even though baby is outside the mother’s womb, he smells the familiar smells of his mother’s skin. His heart beat synchronizes with that of his mother’s heart, something that was going on for months inside the womb. Baby which is put on the mother’s chest has a psycho-somatic effect on the hormones of the mother in that the feeling of touch, the smells of the baby, the gentle gaze into the baby’s eyes at once triggers a rush of chemical reactions or emotions and feelings in the mother, that milk letdown happens very soon, as if on cue.
Skin to Skin contact is so important and proven to be beneficial that even babies who have had a traumatic birth, if put on their mother’s chest in skin to skin, have been found to thrive better than those who did not. At The Sanctum, even in case of the rare c-section, babies are in skin to skin contact with the mother even when suturing is being done.
So what can you do to facilitate skin to skin contact? Tell your doctor that unless there is a major medical problem with either you or your baby you would like to be in skin to skin contact with your baby. Talk to your birth team and tell them you would not like your baby to be cleaned immediately after birth until a few hours of skin to skin contact. All these factors help baby make the transition easier and help your body to make a good start on the journey to motherhood.
As always, write to us if you have a question about your pregnancy or your baby.
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