What is "skin to skin couplet care"?
Skin-to-skin couplet care means your baby is placed unclothed onto your chest, against your skin, and under a blanket or your clothing. Your baby will be placed on your chest right after birth, having your baby skin-to-skin helps the baby to feel safe, stay warm and maintain a healthy blood sugar. Bathing and non-essential medical and nursing tasks are delayed for at least four hours after the baby is born, essential tasks will take place with your baby skin-to-skin.
How does "skin to skin couplet care" help breastfeeding?
- Baby can smell colostrum at birth. Amniotic fluid has a smell similar to colostrum, so baby is drawn to the breast by the familiar smell.
- Left undisturbed between your breasts, baby may nuzzle down to the breast by himself and latch on unassisted!
- Baby has more opportunity to feed and gains weight better.
- Baby is more aroused to feed.
- Baby breastfeeds better and longer overall.
What does “skin to skin” do?
- Stabilizes baby’s temperature and vital signs.
- Gives baby better oxygenation and blood sugar levels.
- Stimulates milk production.
- Causes your uterus to contract and bleed less.
- Causes baby to be comforted and cry less.
- Promotes feelings of closeness and protectiveness.
- Provides the best opportunity to get breastfeeding off to a good start What is Skin-to-skin? Simply put, the baby is placed bare-skinned onto your skin, on your chest Any assessments or procedures that are done routinely for your baby will either be delayed for this important time together, or performed while the baby is on your chest.
Why is it important?
- Babies are comforted by being placed skin to skin with their mother right after birth. They are calmer and cry less. Being skin to skin is also pain-relieving to the baby, such as during an injection or heel-stick procedure. When babies are placed skin to skin, they warm up better and learn to stay warm faster.
- Skin to skin helps baby’s respirations, heart rate, and blood sugar stay normal and their oxygen levels are highest when skin to skin.
- You are the best “recovery room” for your new baby! Being skin to skin helps lower your stress, and makes you feel closer to your baby. This is a great time for both of you to get to know one another. The bonding that takes place during skin to skin time lasts long after birth.
- The movement of your baby’s body on your body stimulates hormones that cause your uterus to contract and bleed less.
- When babies are placed undisturbed on their mother’s chest between the breasts, they often will crawl towards the mother’s nipple and latch on unassisted! Babies are able to smell the colostrum in their mother’s breasts. Since amniotic fluid is similar in smell to colostrum, babies are therefore naturally drawn to the breast. In addition, babies’ hand movements at the breast, as well as their sucking, cause the mother’s body to release milk-making hormones. Infants who have been placed skin to skin gain weight better and breastfeed better and longer. Babies need to be close to the breast to learn to breastfeed. This first skin to skin time is the best opportunity to begin breastfeeding.
The benefits continue..
- Even after the first four hours of skin to skin time, continue to place your baby skin to skin over the next sev¬eral days. If baby is fussy, this will help calm him. If baby is too sleepy to nurse, this will stimulate and arouse him to breastfeed.
- Skin to skin time continues to help make baby warm and comforted. It also continues to help make breastfeeding a successful and enjoyable experience.
- Dad can do skin-to-skin too! Although Dad cannot breastfeed, the baby knows the sound of Dad's voice.
If you are interested in learning more about Woodland Healthcare's Skin-to-Skin Program, contact Woodland Healthcare's lactation consultants at (530) 669-5420.