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Bonding with Baby:  Skin-to-Skin Contact

At Maimonides, we educate new mothers and families on the best ways to ensure their baby grows healthy and strong.

Some of the most important guidance we provide is the significance of Skin-to-Skin contact.  Extensive research shows that mothers and babies should have close contact and be touching, skin-to-skin, immediately after birth (provided mom and baby are in stable conditions) and for a few weeks after.

"Skin-to-Skin" means that after birth, the baby is placed naked between mother's bare breasts with face, chest, abdomen and legs facing the mother, close to her body, with no spaces (baby may have a diaper and hat). The baby's head should be turned to the side and covered with a warm blanket. 

Skin-to-Skin contact offers the following benefits for ALL babies (including premature babies)

  • More stable and normal skin temperatures
  • More stable and more normal heart rates and blood pressures
  • More normal blood sugar levels
  • The baby will cry less, therefore conserve energy and be less stressed
  • Babies recover faster from the trauma of labor and birth when Skin-to-Skin contact is initiated, as it provides analgesic effects for the baby

Benefits of Skin-to-Skin contact during breastfeeding

  • Triggers the baby's instinctive feeding behavior
  • Makes the baby more likely to latch, and latch on well
  • Makes the aby more likely to breastfeed exclusively and for a longer period of time
  • Stimulates the maternal enteromammary immune system (As a result of being Skin-to-Skin with her baby, the mother develops antibodies against germs in her own and baby's environment. These antibodies are delivered to the baby in the mother's breast milk, thus providing protection for baby from infection.)
  • Stimulates the mother's release of hormones that support breastfeeding and mothering

The importance of timing in initiating Skin-to-Skin contact

Our knowledgeable team of nurses, midwives and lactation consultants, work with new mothers to help them understand when and why Skin-to-Skin contact should start. 

0 - 90 minutes after birth 

Essential for the baby's best brain development, both physically and mentally

0 - 6 hours after birth

During this recovery time, Skin-to-Skin helps the baby's heart and breathing system to physically stabilize (Reuniting mothers and babies later does not compensate for the separation at birth.)

6 - 24 hours after birth

Helps the baby get into a stable feeding pattern and sleep cycling

12 hours - 8 weeks after birth

Essential for attachment and bonding