Memorial Hermann - A New Beginning

Skin-to-Skin Contact

At birth, your baby may be placed directly on your chest. At this time, a member of the health care team will dry your baby. They’ll check your baby over and cover you both with a warm blanket. The connection of your bare-skinned baby lying directly on your skin is called skin-to-skin contact. This immediate undisturbed skin-to-skin contact allows your baby to go through instinctive stages. These include looking at you, resting and finally self-attachment to the breast. This initial snuggling also has very important health benefits.

Benefits of skin-to-skin contact • Soothes and calms you and your baby • Your baby cries less • Helps your baby regulate their temperature and heart rate • Helps your baby regulate their breathing and blood sugar • Enhances bonding • Helps your uterus shrink back to regular size

Safe positioning for safe skin-to-skin contact • You should be semi-reclined or upright and alert • Your baby is in the middle and high up on your chest • Your baby’s shoulders and chest are facing you

• Your baby’s head is turned to one side with mouth and nose visible • Your baby’s chin is in a neutral position (not slouched)—also called the sniffing position • Your baby’s neck is straight, not bent • Your baby’s arms and legs are flexed-in tight to the side of their body • Your baby’s back is covered with warm blankets

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the best start for breastfeeding is when a baby is kept skin-to-skin immediately after birth and until the first feeding has finished, or as long as the parent wishes. Remember: Babies should always maintain good skin color. They should respond to stimulation. Babies are usually calm and relaxed during skin-to-skin. You may get sleepy as well. It’s best to have an alert adult at the bedside to help out.

SUDDEN UNEXPECTED POSTNATAL COLLAPSE (SUPC) Sudden Unexpected Postnatal Collapse (SUPC) is a rare event but it can occur. It happens when a seemingly healthy infant collapses and shows these signs:

• Becomes pale or blue • Stops or is not breathing • Becomes unstable or unresponsive

SUPC may be related to holding your baby in a risky position during skin-to-skin. For safety, make sure you’re alert, semi- reclined, or upright and that your baby is breathing easily while being held skin-to-skin. It’s also very important to keep an eye on the baby at all times. Very often, distractions from phones and visitors take more time than you think. And they can wait. Make your baby’s well-being your top priority.

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Your Guide to Postpartum and Newborn Care

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