All mothers and babies should have the opportunity to have skin-to-skin contact straight after birth. This will keep your baby close, warm and calm, and it will steady their breathing.
This is a bonding experience for mother and baby. It will encourage the baby to start breastfeeding.
Your baby will be happier if you keep your baby near you and feed baby whenever baby shows feeding cues. This will prompt your body to produce plenty of milk.
Skin-to-skin contact is good at any time. It will help to comfort you and your baby over the first few days and weeks.
If your baby is born by caesarean section, you should still be able to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby straight after the birth. Some births involve complications that mean skin-to-skin may be delayed. If this happens, it does not mean that you will not be able to breastfeed your baby.
If your baby is in a neonatal unit in hospital after the birth, you will probably be encouraged to try Kangaroo Care. This means that when your baby is ready, you can hold your baby against your skin regularly, usually under your clothes. This skin-to-skin contact helps you to bond with your premature baby, and it increases your milk supply.
If mother and baby are separated for any reason, father can take over this role, just like mother with skin to skin, with baby (in only a nappy) under father’s clothes.
Dr Nils Bergman’s website provides more information about skin-to-skin contact.
The first time you go out to breastfeed take a friend with you to give yourself extra confidence.
Know your rights! The law is behind you to breastfeed in public.