Is It Too Late To Start Skin-To-Skin With Baby?
Before your baby was born, they received all their comfort and nourishment from inside your belly. So it only makes sense that after birth, your body can continue providing comfort, health, stress relief, and much more for your new addition.
Skin-to-skin has many benefits that you and your little one can reap, whether you were able to partake immediately or not.
There are so many reasons that babies may not be able to be held right after they are born. If you’re a parent who didn’t get to do skin-to-skin early on, we are here to tell you: You can still do it.
Tabezee is here to share everything you need to know about skin-to-skin, including why we love it and how to get started.
What Are the Benefits of Skin-to-Skin Contact?
Skin-to-skin contact, also known as “kangaroo care,” is recommended by parents and medical professionals alike. The mental and physical benefits of this practice are often said to be strongest immediately after birth — but that doesn’t mean it is the only time you can partake.
Skin-to-skin contact has positive mental and physical health benefits for both babies and
parents. Caring for a newborn can be stressful; parents might feel sleep-deprived, stressed, and overwhelmed. Babies can feel stressed, too; they’re in a brave new world far from the cozy belly they knew.
Skin-to-skin contact is recommended to encourage breastfeeding (if applicable) and regulate mom and baby’s emotions in the golden hour. However, the benefits don’t stop there.
Whether you start skin-to-skin a few days after birth, a few weeks, or even a few months – you and your baby can still experience plenty of positive effects of this phenomenon.
We will cover the basics below:
Calms, Soothes, and Relieves Stress
Direct contact with a parent is stress relieving for your baby.
How? Skin-to-skin contact stimulates your baby’s production of oxytocin (often known as the happy chemical) and reduces the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone). Lowering your baby’s stress levels can help reduce fussiness, crying, and squirming.
So yes, skin-to-skin contact has incredible benefits after childbirth, but even if you begin this practice immediately or a bit down the line, your kiddo can benefit. And it’s not just your baby either!
Parents receive the same positive hormonal benefits as their babies during skin-to-skin contact. It can lower rates of postpartum depression and increase feelings of confidence.
It’s never too late to experiment with ways to limit your baby’s stress. Research suggests that skin-to-skin contact has significant impacts for three months for full-term babies or six months for preemies.
Decreases Pain & Promotes Healing
If your infant undergoes any clinical procedures in their first few days, skin-to-skin contact can minimize post-procedure pain. In a study of 2,000 babies, 60 to 90 seconds of skin-to-skin contact after a pain-inducing procedure reduced pain, crying, and irritation.
Improves Quality of Sleep
Babies need about 14 to 17 hours of sleep, depending on their age. This sleeping time is critical for brain development and physical growth. As adults, we only need to log about six to eight hours of shut-eye. However, unlike us, our babies can’t exactly drink a cup of coffee (or three) and get back to work.
Skin-to-skin contact has been shown to improve the sleep patterns of most infants. This can regulate their sleep cycle, promoting strong motor skills, learning capacity, and, of course, brain development.
Increases a Sense of Security
The outside world can be scary, even to adults. Now, babies just spent nine months in their mom’s womb. They grew used to its comfort, familiarity, and safety — not to mention the nutrition on demand.
Now your little one is learning to navigate the outside world and all of the new stimulations that come with that. Skin-to-skin, no matter the stage of infancy, can increase a baby’s feelings of security.
The warmth of your skin, the sound of your voice, and the rhythm of your breathing are soothing. All of these things feel familiar and safe to your baby: a welcome throwback to the good ol’ days.
Encourages Weight Gain & Digestion
Skin-to-skin contact promotes better nutrient absorption and overall digestion in babies. If your baby has been experiencing some gastrointestinal issues, skin-to-skin contact may help soothe their upset tummies.
Just 20 minutes of skin-to-skin contact can lower somatostatin and cortisol levels, which can help soothe potential gastrointestinal issues. That speed is pretty remarkable — you can stream one episode of your favorite Netflix series, and your baby’s upset tummy quiets down.
Skin-to-skin contact helps maintain healthy fat and promotes weight gain.
Boosts the Immune System
Through skin-to-skin contact, a parent’s healthy and mature immune system can share essential antibodies with your new baby.
Your little one just popped into this world and has an immune system still learning to function. This can create a layer of healthy antibodies that may help shield the baby from harmful bacteria or threatening viruses early on in their life.
Your baby can still benefit from the antibodies in your immune system even if you left the maternity ward a while ago. You can continue to help your baby acclimate to this big crazy world through kangaroo care at any point.
Healthy Baby, Healthy Planet
At Tabezee, we believe that we have a responsibility to the health of the next generation and the planet. As supporters of skin-to-skin contact ourselves, we wanted our babies to have clothes as gentle as our planet. Our onesies are made of chemical-free jersey cotton, featuring nickel-free snaps. They’re 100% GOTS Certified Organic — Mother Earth would approve.
Improves Heart Rate & Breathing
Skin-to-skin contact helps a baby learn to self-regulate their body and their emotions.
Through this contact, the baby’s heartbeat syncs with their parent as they cuddle. Skin-to-skin contact helps reduce 75 percent of breathing and heart troubles.
Science told us what parents have known for ages; cuddling is good for the heart — literally.
Again, no rush here. If you missed the opportunity for post-birth skin-to-skin, it could still be a very powerful tool for your baby’s learned self-regulation.
How Tabezee Makes Skin-to-Skin Easy
Here at Tabeeze, making life easier for parents is one of our main priorities. As parents ourselves, we love how skin-to-skin contact helps everyone in our growing family. That’s why we created the Tabeeze Bottom Up Baby Bodysuit.
With our patented shoulder flaps and fumble-free snap alignment, Tabeeze makes it easier than ever to dress (or undress) your baby for skin-to-skin contact. The world’s only bottom-up design allows parents to slip on the onesie feet first. Simply un-snap the onesie at the shoulder, pull down the top, get cozy, and start bonding.
Never Too Late To Start
To conclude, no: it’s never too late to start skin-to-skin care. All families are different, and every parenting journey is unique. No matter where your journey begins, skin-to-skin contact is a simple way to bring some powerful snuggles into your life.
Physiology of Stress and Use of Skin-to-Skin Care as a Stress-Reducing Intervention in the NICU | Nursing for Women's Health
Skin-to-Skin Contact May Reduce Procedural Pain in Infants | Winchester Hospital
Is Your Newborn Baby's Immune System Strong Enough? | Cleveland Clinic
Kangaroo Care: What it is, Benefits & How To Do It | Cleveland Clinic
The Importance of Skin-to-Skin With Baby After Delivery | Sanford Health News