Benefits of Skin to Skin With Newborns
So you've read your pregnancy book, you've chatted on the mom's groups, you've looked at sample birth plans and everyone says to do skin-to-skin.... but why? What is the difference between holding your baby with your shirt on or off, really in the big scheme of things? Skin-to-skin contact is actually a very evidenced-based practice for helping newborns regulate in those early days and weeks.
It helps regulate the baby's bodily functions like breathing, heart rate, and temperature, it promotes breastfeeding, which increases weight gain and it is a fantastic bonding tool for both parents.
Mothers, following your baby's birth your nurse or doula will help you unsnap your hospital gown or remove your shirt or bra so that you can have that skin to skin time with your baby immediately following birth. Partners, after those early moments post-birth there will come a time when mom will get a little "busy" delivering the placenta and getting cleaned up and that will likely be your first time to hold your baby. The nurse may suggest that you do skin to skin too and this is again, to help your baby stay warm and regulated. If you're comfortable just taking your shirt off than do that, but if you feel like that may make you self-conscious be sure to bring or wear a button-down shirt or a zip-up jacket. So, get ready to go topless and cuddle that little bundle of joy.