The Magic Touch: 5 reasons why skin-to-skin contact is so important for babies
Written by Susannah Hardy in partnership with Babyology
That moment when you first experience the feel of your baby’s skin against your own is a truly memorable one and the start of a very special relationship.
Skin-to-skin contact is truly divine and plays a vital role in the bonding process between mother and child. A time of quiet and absolute calm, you and your child can relax and truly connect, and not only does the power of touch help establish a strong and lasting relationship but also offers many other benefits in terms of your baby’s health and development.
1. GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Those early days between you and your baby are a heavenly time of love and sharing, as well as all-important bonding. And so much of this is achieved through the sense of touch. That one-on-one physical contact helps your baby to calm down and adjust to her new life out of the womb. It also helps reduce stress levels for mum, allowing you to relax and start to recognise and be more sensitive to your baby’s cues – what she needs and wants. Words from a distance will not mean much to a newborn, but the feeling of skin against skin is an incredible form of non-verbal communication that allows you and your child to create a sense of intimacy and closeness.
2. SUPPORTING THE SKIN
Having skin-to-skin contact is incredibly nurturing for your newborn – and whatever you put on your baby’s skin should be just as supportive. This is why you want to choose products that care for your child as much as you do, particularly when it comes to nappies. Lovekins Nappies are super absorbent, extra breathable, and made with Australian cotton, providing a layer of comfort for your baby’s delicate skin.
3. CALMING RIGHT DOWN
Gentle skin-to-skin connection is a sure-fire way to calm your baby down and reduce her crying. Who doesn’t love to have a cuddle when they’re feeling upset? Or a massage for that matter? A gentle massage with a baby body cream or massage oil after a bath not only helps to relax your bub but will also do wonders for her skin, overall health, sleep patterns and wellbeing. Most importantly, it offers a loving time of bonding where you and your baby can share eye contact, many playful giggles and gurgles, and that wonderful skin-to-skin feel.
4. READY FOR BED
Babies are not used to going to sleep on their own, and it can be extremely challenging for mother and child alike. Cuddling, snuggling, rocking, caressing and holding your baby close at this time will help your little one to calm down during that notorious witching hour and encourage a night of blissful sleep. Try giving your baby a warm, soothing bath, which is an effective way to help your baby relax and prepare for bed, not mention care for her tender skin.
5. FEELING OF SECURITY
The world is a big, scary place for newborn babies, so gentle skin-to-skin contact with mum is extremely comforting. As you bond with your baby and start recognising and responding to her many cues, she will develop a secure attachment, which offers enormous benefits later in life, such as developing fulfilling relationships and feeling self-confident.
6. BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
Research shows that physical touch is vital in terms of your baby’s brain development. Gentle cuddling and caressing have been said to increase the brain’s ability to develop a sense of ownership over the body and maintain a healthy sense of self. Studies also show that those early sensory experiences have a significant influence on brain function and enhance overall health and development later down the track.
While none of us needs an excuse to hold and cuddle our babies, it is still good to know we are doing them a great service in the process.