Your baby’s first hours
The first hours of snuggling skin-to-skin will help you and your baby bond and get to know each other. Your baby will go through nine distinct phases. When you hold your baby skin-to-skin immediately after birth, you can watch your baby go through each phase. Hold your baby belly-down on your chest or tummy immediately after birth until after the first feeding (approximately 2 hours later).
Be sure to let your healthcare provider know, before you go into labour, that you would like to hold your baby skin-to-skin right after birth until you are done with the first feeding. If you are giving birth in the hospital, it is important to let the nurses and other care providers know your wishes about skin-to-skin, as well.
Keep cuddling skin-to-skin as often as possible in the months after birth. The benefits of skin-to-skin for bonding and breastfeeding continue long after the first weeks. Skin-to-skin is also better for babies born prematurely or by Caesarean birth. If you haven’t held your baby skin-to-skin yet, start now! It’s not too late.
Skin-to-skin beyond the first hour
Continue making time to snuggle skin-to-skin with your baby. It will help keep your baby interested in breastfeeding if he is sleepy. Research shows that babies of all ages, including preterm babies, benefit from skin-to-skin.
Safe positioning for skin-to-skin
When holding your baby skin-to-skin in the early days, watch baby’s face to ensure the colour is normal, breathing is regular, and baby responds to you. If you feel sleepy during skin-to-skin time, return baby to a safe sleep surface such as their own crib, positioned on their back.7
Dr. Nils Bergman's research shows that it is Optimal to Place New Babies Skin-to-Skin with their Mother (KIDSCARE Canada).
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