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WHAT IS SKIN TO SKIN?
When babies are cuddled clothed in only a nappy exposed to mum or dad's bare chest, this is what we call "skin to skin". Bubs may need a beanie on his or her head and covered with a blanket to lock in the heat shared with mum or dad.
In 2004, South African Neonatologist Dr. Nil's Bergman, ran a study out of pure necessity to keep newborn premature infants alive.
Isolettes are tiny boxes that house and help to stabilise premature and sick infants in our special care nurseries and neonatal intensive care units. These life saving units cost up to $10,000 and whilst plentiful in supply in our hospitals, they are unaffordable in third world countries.
It was found that when skin to skin, maternal body temperature prevents babies from getting cold or too warm. The baby in skin-to-skin contact also feels safe with mum’s familiar heart beat and voice so they do not become stressed and the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing stabilise faster.
Skin to skin has also been found to:
The benefits of skin to skin are seen when done for a minimum of an hour at a time and ideally done continuously, especially with a premature or sick infant...
These benefits are not limited to sick or premature infants, but applicable to term babies as well. There is no limitation on skin to skin in terms of how often and how long, but obviously, it is beneficial to all infants.
In today's day and age where being busy is at a premium and mum 's are expected to be active soon after birth, skin to skin is great way of being still and at one with your baby.
Author...Kellie Eason Nurse, Midwife, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at Milk...early parenting support
With over 20 years of experience as a Clinical Practitioner working in Melbourne's Major Teaching Hospitals & within the community in Private Practice, Kellie is one of the most experienced & specialised Lactation Consultant/Midwives available in Melbourne.