Skin-to-skin contact is the practice of caring for newborn infants that involves putting the infant on the mothers chest skin-to-skin, between the breast in an upright position. Skin-to-skin contact is an important part of newborn care known as Kangaroo Mother Care. For skin-to-skin contact to occur, the baby is in a diaper and a hat, and placed between the mothers breasts, so that frontal body contact of mother and infant is skin-to-skin. The infant and Mom or Dad are covered, and the mother provides warmth and stimulation that simulates the prenatal environment of the womb.
Whilst the benefits of skin-to-skin contact for both premature and full-term infants have been extensively researched, there has been less research about the effects on the Mom or the Dad and the developing parent-infant relationship. A multidisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners led by Dr. Ann Bigelow, Professor of Psychology at St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, has undertaken research study to examine the impact of mother-infant skin-to-skin contact on Moms and their developing relationship with their babies. What was shown through the research was that Moms who spent more time doing Kangaroo Mother Care, that is in skin to skin contact with their newborn baby, then the greater the sensitivity and bond that was reported as being felt by the Mom toward her baby.
So as a new Mom or Dad you may want to think about:
What does skin-to-skin contact mean to you?
Have you ever heard of mothers and babies practicing skin-to-skin contact and what have you heard?
Have you, or anyone you know, practiced skin-to-skin contact ?
What are your predictions about what some of the benefits of skin-to-skin contact might be?
Kangaroo Mother Care helps in establishing and maintaining breastfeeding, nurturing of your baby while feeding, reducing feelings of depression that you as a Mom may experience, increase your babies alertness and responsiveness to you.
Once you have done Kangaroo Mother Care with your baby you may want to think about:
What was your experience and how easy was it?
What might encourage a mother or Father to try skin-to-skin contact with theirbaby?
What might limit a Moms and Dads from trying skin-to-skin contact with their baby?
What your views on the role of the father in skin-to-skin contact are?
How important is the role of health care practitioners in supporting skin-to-skin contact?
What can Moms and Dads do to gain the support of their health care practitioners for skin-to-skin contact after they give birth?
How can Moms and Dads support each other to provide skin-to-skin contact?
Do you think skin-to-skin contact has benefits for Moms, Dads and babies in your area?
Let us know your thoughts and answers to these questions by commenting on The Miracle of Kangaroo Mother Care site.