Research has shown that it’s important for a mother to bond with her child skin to skin for the first hour after she gives birth; commonly known as kangaroo mother care. This approach involves a newborn been placed on their mother’s chest with their skins coming into direct contact.
Kangaroo mother care is essential for babies born either term or preterm. Here are some of the benefits of skin to skin contact during the first hour after a baby’s birth.
Stable and normal heart rate
Skin to skin contact helps decrease rapid breathing into the normal range. Research has also shown that it works faster than an incubator.
2. Stabilizes body temperature
In their mother’s womb, the temperatures are well controlled but after the child is born, they use more energy and oxygen to keep their temperature stable. Therefore, skin contact with their mother gives the baby warmth hence stabilizing their body temperatures.
3. Encourages breast feeding
When a baby is placed on their mother’s chest, they naturally crawl to their mother’s breast and begin suckling. Breast feeding boosts the baby’s immunity by protecting them from contracting allergic diseases. Breast feeding also helps premature babies reach the ideal weight and prevents them from getting low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).
4. Calms the baby
Skin to skin contact between the mother and baby makes the baby feel safe. It even calms them down when they cry.
6. Creates a strong bond between the mother and baby
A mother and baby get to familiarize themselves with each other during that first skin to skin contact. When a mother and her baby’s body come into contact, oxytocin hormone is produced. This hormone promotes maternal behaviour in a mother such as looking after their young ones.