We encourage skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby to begin bonding and initiate nursing as soon as possible after delivery. Skin-to-skin care is when your baby is placed belly-down directly on your chest after birth. Skin-to-skin contact is also a great thing for dads to do. It has all the same benefits for the baby as skin-to-skin with the mother and it’s also a great way for dads to begin to build that special bond with their baby.
- Calms and relaxes both mother and baby
- Regulates heart rate and breathing in the baby
- Encourages early infant breastfeeding, weight gain and infant development
- Promotes parent/newborn attachment and confidence in parenting
- Can reduce infant crying
All infants can do skin-to-skin care if they are medically well and considered stable. This practice can occur after both vaginal and cesarean delivery. If your baby is unable to do skin-to-skin in the first hour of life, ask your healthcare team when the appropriate time is for your infant to be offered skin-to-skin care.
Why Breastfeeding is Best
Breastfeeding offers newborns the most complete nutrition available. Human milk provides nutrients and antibodies for your baby to thrive. There is a lot of scientific evidence that shows lower risks of certain diseases and better health outcomes for mothers and babies who breastfeed. Breastfeeding gives mothers and babies some important health protection:
- Lower frequency of ear infections for babies
- Fewer respiratory tract infections
- Breastfeeding cuts the risk of sudden infant death almost in half
- Breastfeeding helps protect women from diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer, and heart disease
"Rooming In" With Your Baby
In addition to breastfeeding, the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative supports mother and baby “rooming in” together after birth. By keeping babies close to their mothers right after birth, mothers can breastfeed when their babies are ready. Healthy babies and their mothers stay together day and night and practice “rooming in” so they can get to know each other. This also allows new parents to understand normal baby behavior.
The Use of Pacifiers
During the hospital stay, we encourage you to breastfeed every time your baby wants to suck. This will help to make plenty of milk for your baby. If you use a pacifier in the first few days, you may miss your baby’s feeding cues. Keeping your baby skin-to-skin with you while you are awake will keep your baby calm and let you know when to feed. We recommend that you wait a few weeks before offering a pacifier. If you want your baby to use a pacifier during your short hospital stay, please bring one with you when you come into the hospital.