Is It Better To Be Naked When Breastfeeding?
Let’s get one thing straight before we jump in — whether you breastfeed, bottle feed, formula feed, or use any other feeding mechanism with your baby, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that your baby is fed, period.
While we might put the focus on breastfeeding in this article, feel free to sub in your method of choice so that you can reap the same potential benefits of skin-to-skin contact.
Naked Time – A Healthy & Friendly Baby Experience
If you have been curious about feeding your baby topless, we’ve got the answers. Feeding (half) naked allows you and your baby a chance to slow down and bond.
Aside from the benefits of skin-to-skin (which we will do a refresher on in a little bit), half-naked feeding also allows babies to better explore their senses, their mobility, and their feeding preferences and processes.
Skin-to-skin contact is a relatively newer idea. Back in the 1970s in Bogota, Colombia, preemies weren’t doing well. Researchers discovered that babies who were held skin-to-skin by their mothers thrived.
Termed kangaroo care, this practice was a giant leap forward in baby and caregiver bonding. Since then, we’ve learned that skin-to-skin contact is important for every baby, premie or not.
So the next time your environment is warm and cozy enough, why not give it a try? The combination of skin-to-skin contact with the bonding of feeding is unmatched.
Skin-to-Skin, Big Win!
You have probably heard us talk about this before, but we are huge proponents of skin-to-skin contact over here at Tabeeze. It’s no wonder.
Skin-to-skin is not only an amazing way to bond with your baby, but it offers potential mental and physical health benefits too.
While we’ve gone into greater detail in our other kangaroo care articles, this time around, we’re sharing the highlights reel.
- Calms soothes and relieves stress. Any contact with the caregiver’s skin can help your baby learn to regulate their stress levels.
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels. Skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth helps a baby stabilize their blood sugar.
- Improves sleep quality. Close contact has been shown to improve the quality and length of sleep in infants.
- Increases sense of security. Your baby becomes familiar with your scent and feels safer.
- Improves weight gain and digestion. Again, skin-to-skin reduces stress hormones in your baby, which can lead to good weight gain and a healthy digestive tract.
- Stimulates milk production. Feeling your baby’s skin can naturally boost your milk production if you’re breastfeeding.
- Encourages healthy heart rate and breathing level. Skin-to-skin contact helps your baby relax and can help stabilize your baby’s heart rate.
- Decreases pain and promotes healing. Studies have shown that 60-90 minutes of skin-to-skin time after any clinical procedures can decrease pain levels, crying, and irritation.
Benefits for the Whole Family
These benefits aren’t only for moms and babies. All parents can play a role in their baby’s healthy development with a little shirtless time. Whether feeding your baby by breast, bottle, or another method, or even just having a round of snuggling, everyone can benefit and bond a little bit easier.
Skin-on-skin contact during feeding can help keep feeding fussiness to a minimum. The closeness of Mom or Dad, smelling their familiar scent and being able to feel their skin can put a baby more at ease. Breastfeeding is not required, of course.
This feeding method might be the perfect way to help relieve their stress and promote relaxation during breast or bottle time (and maybe do a little for your own, too).
Skin-to-Skin Contact Promotes Sensory Integration
Isn’t it wild that your baby spent nine months in the womb and is suddenly just existing in our outside world? Well, it’s pretty wild to them too. Think about all the things your baby has to learn.
Most of all, your baby has to get to know their own senses. This includes adjusting to smells, seeing new things, and simply figuring out their motor functions and how those work outside of your belly. It’s a confusing and learning-packed time period. This is all part of a developmental process called “sensory integration.”
The main part of sensory integration is feeding. Just like you are learning all the ways to stay comfortable and cozy while feeding your newborn, so are they – and it can be intimidating.
Think of all the different experiences at play during the simple act of eating. From your baby learning the routine, the feel of food, the smell of your skin, the sound of your heart, and the ability to move, it’s an all-senses experience.
Letting your baby explore the feeding and eating experience naked (or in a diaper) can help them focus on their senses in a safe place, with the comforting scent of a caregiver right there with them.
Everyone can benefit from some good ole’ skin-to-skin time, but your baby will also get to learn more about their body, how it works, and how it moves. Eventually, your baby will learn how not to poke themselves in the eye and what to do to avoid accidentally scratching their own nose. As minor as it may seem, that particular feeding time plays a large role in helping that happen.
By exploring their sensory experiences and motor skills, babies can figure out the ways they like to eat and function better with all the new exciting stuff going on around them.
Skin-to-Skin Contact Encourages Curiosity
Babies spend a lot of their time restricted. From being strapped into a stroller for a walk, buckled into a car seat to run errands, or situated in a baby sling at any given moment, babies spend plenty of time not able to practice their full range of motion. While your baby is still learning to navigate this big, wide world, why not give Baby plenty of opportunities to move however they want to move?
Unfortunately, baby clothes often restrict a baby’s ability to practice their full range of motion. Typical baby clothes often tug at sensitive baby skin, restrict a baby’s movement entirely, or are plain old uncomfortable.
Naked feeding can nip this issue in the bud, allowing your baby to wiggle and squirm when they need to get comfortable while they eat. This allows them to feel as comfortable as possible while practicing all the cool new moves they’ve been learning and working on. Finding their hand? Check. Finding their feet? Check.
No matter how a baby is fed, Mom or Dad can give their little one a chance to keep exploring by feeding the baby without a shirt.
The Best Onesie for Skin-to-Skin Contact While Breastfeeding
You don’t have to completely strip down your baby for skin-to-skin contact. After all, when a baby is hungry, every second matters. Otherwise, you run the risk of that hungry little whimper turning into a full-blown, screaming wail.
Caregivers can opt for easy-to-unbutton tops or blouses. Babies can keep their diaper and bottom half completely intact while getting plenty of human skin contact with our Tabeeze Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuit.
The Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuit is truly one of a kind. The patented bottom-up design and (oh-so-soft) 100% GOTS Certified Organic cotton make every skin-to-skin feeding time way more accessible to any parent — and easier to consistently do.
Plus, our onesie is super sustainable. From meeting high environmental and social requirements during the whole production process to using sustainable packaging for shipping, and as a Cloverly carbon offset member, Tabeeze is all about doing what’s best for babies, families, and the environment.
Rather than having to completely undress your little one for each and every single feeding experience, our patented shoulder flaps and fumble-free snap alignment allow you to get in the groove with ease. Whether it’s the early morning, the middle of the night, or the wee hours of the morning — getting that skin-to-skin contact during feeding time shouldn’t be difficult.
It can be just that simple to get your babe all the benefits of skin-to-skin feeding sessions.
Final Question: Diaper or No Diaper?
While we have already pointed out a bunch of reasons why feeding your baby skin to skin is important, you might be left wondering, “Should they even have a diaper on?”
Really, this last part is up to you. Some studies show that mobility increases when babies are allowed to go diaperless. However, this might not matter as much as possible cleanliness when they’re being held and fed (especially if the location is in your bed, the new sofa, or another area you don’t need potentially smothered in a mess).
To really revel in that skin-to-skin time while feeding and not have to worry about any bathroom mishaps messing up the moment, we recommend keeping a diaper on your baby or a onesie like our versatile Bottom-Up Bodysuit that you can situate for easy skin-feeling access.
Breast, bottle, feeding tube — no matter how your baby experiences a feeding, enhance it. Skin-to-skin contact is important for the health of mom, dad, and baby. Let Tabeeze help make it simple.
Go Naked: Diapers Affect Infant Walking | PMC
Kangaroo Care: What it is, Benefits & How To Do It | Cleveland Clinic
Sensory development and suggestions for babies: The first 18 months | AboutKidsHealth