Skin-to-skin contact

Having skin-to-skin contact with your baby straight after giving birth will help to keep them warm and calm and steady their breathing. Skin-to-skin means holding your baby naked or dressed only in a nappy against your skin (under your top or under a blanket is fine!). This time can be a bonding experience for you and your baby, for both dads and mums.

Skin-to-skin time is also a great time to have your first breastfeed. If you need any help, your midwife will support you with positioning and attachment. Skin-to-skin contact is good at any time as it’ll help to comfort you and your baby over the first few days and weeks as you get to know each other. It also helps your baby attach to your breast using their natural crawling and latching-on reflexes.

You'll still be able to bond with and breastfeed your baby if skin-to-skin contact is delayed for some reason, for example if your baby needs to spend some time in special care. If your baby is delivered by caesarean, you should still be able to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby straight after delivery. Don’t forget that it’s a great way for Dad to help out while you get some rest - get those shirts off Dads, and enjoy some bonding time with your baby while Mum has a well-earned nap!

 

For more information on the benefits of skin-to-skin, visit the UNICEF website.