Skin-to-skin contact helps cortisol levels to settle. Right after birth your baby’s body is releasing stress hormones. During skin to skin this changes to growth and healing. It's good to talk to your baby and take your time enjoying the contact because they have been through a challenging time.
During skin to skin most babies will begin to make their way to the breast. It’s during this journey that the critical sensory needs of the brain are turned on. Their brain waves are 6 to 10 times slower than ours so the breast crawl can be painfully slow, but try to drop into your baby’s world and allow this time if you can.
It might be that you were unable to have skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth. Maybe your baby needed extra care immediately, or you were in recovery. It's OK to unwrap them again! Just make sure you get those skin-to-skin cuddles as soon as you can. It’s part of a healing process for your both. It’s also important to them to get to slowly take in their surroundings, move their body but still hear your heart beat and smell your familiar scent.
Dads can join in too. Studies have shown that skin to skin between dad and baby also has a host of benefits. Fathers feel better bonded, more confident in parenting and more protective of their newborn. From the baby's point of view, they're learning the person behind the voice.
Photo by @dentonbirthphotography