Do you realize how important that it its to have skin-to-skin contact (SSC) with your baby as soon as possible after birth? This medical recommendation has been researched and is true for both full-term and premature babies. According to Dr. Nils Bergman of Capetown, South Africa, who specializes in Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), “The mother’s skin is the baby’s environment and both physically and emotionally is the healthiest place for the baby to be.” His research shows that this form of sensory contact treats respiratory distress, promotes self-attachment, improves the start of breastfeeding, strengthens the infant’s immune system, and builds his brain. ther studies have shown that the quality of mother-infant relating was improved up to a year after birth after practicing SSC immediately after birth. Other studies have shown that the quality of mother-infant relating was improved up to a year after birth after practicing SSC immediately after birth.
Many neonatal intensive care units in the U.S. encourage Kangaroo Care between a premature baby, mother and father for an hour a day or more. However, with normal hopsital births this practice is not routinely encouraged. Talk to your doctor and labor nurses to make sure that you and your baby will have this opportunity right after birth. If immediate SSC isn’t possible, then begin regular periods of holding your baby to your breast and chest in the first few days of life.
If you are breast feeding after you bring your baby home, your baby will receive regular SSC. If you are bottle feeding, make sure you give your baby extended SSC during the first few months of life.