Whenever possible in an uncomplicated delivery skin to skin care should be initiated. Gone are the old days when babies were whisked away to the nursery and bathed. We have learned a great deal about the importance of keeping the baby with the mother or other parent since then and here are some reasons why:
1. Placing the baby skin to skin on the mother’s abdomen promotes thermoregulation in the Newborn and is one of the best ways to keep a baby warm.
2. The amniotic fluid on the baby when placed on skin to skin with the mother is one of the best ways to promote the growth of normal flora. If a mother is unable to do skin to skin for medical reasons, skin to skin with the other parent should be initiated.
3. Skin to skin promotes early initiation of breastfeeding and helps baby imprint in their neurodevelopment the ability to obtain breastmilk from the mother’s breast.
4. When a baby crawls on its mother’s abdomen and attaches to her breast it stimulates the release of Oxytocin which will help uterine involution decreasing Post Partum bleeding.
5. Early skin to skin initiation with breastfeeding helps baby get breastfeeding off to a good start and initiates early milk production as well as increased milk supply.
If for medical reasons a mother is unable to do skin to skin in the first hour, it is recommended that this scenario be recreated once mother and baby are well. If breastfeeding was unable to take place, it would be encouraged to express breastmilk for feeding baby when able as this will help promote normal flora in the baby’s digestive system.