When a mother holds a baby after birth in skin-to-skin contact, it ignites strong intuitive reactions in both the mother and the child. The mother will experience an increase of maternal hormones and begin to engage, stroke, and smell her baby. The babies’ instincts will also make them start a unique process that if it is not interrupted, will lead to the baby starting to breastfeed (Souza et al., 2018). Suppose they are assisted to be familiar with their mother’s breasts and attain a self-attachment. In that case, the likelihood is high that they will remember the act in the subsequent feeds, resulting in fewer breastfeeding problems (Campos et al., 2020). Therefore, there is a connection between skin-to-skin contact and the first breastfeeding. There are several short-term and long-term advantages when a baby breastfeeds immediately after being born. The short-term positive effects include the prevention of neonatal mortality and morbidity, which are associated with more extended exclusive breastfeeding and the long duration of the process (Souza et al., 2018). On mothers, it necessitates the release of the oxytocin hormone, which protects women against maternal hood disorders. In the long term, the child will have well-developed motor skills and a reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, and gastroenteritis (Campos et al., 2020). Both the long-term and short-term benefits are essential to the newborn and the mother. Lactational amenorrhea, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, loss of weight, and breast and ovarian cancers are also reduced in women. Breast milk is rich in nutrients and agents that produce immunity against several diseases in children, leading to neonatal mortality. It is therefore essential that a child is breastfed immediately after birth because it prevents 22% of all the neonatal from dying from infections due to weak immunity (Safari et al., 2018). Breastfeeding is also important because it prevents the mother from having puerperal bleeding which is the major cause of maternal deaths globally (Campos et al., 2020). When newborns are breastfed well these deaths can be eliminated. The other benefits associated with breastfeeding include a high Intelligent Quotient amongst children and good performance in high school. The children who are exposed to skin-to-skin contact with their mothers specifically on the chests will cry briefly which is an essential typical birth sound. After that, they will enter a stage where they feel relaxed and will show little movement because they are recovering from birth (Safari et al., 2018). Therefore, skin-to-skin contact reduces the time needed for the baby to develop suction skills and it helps in the regulation and maintenance of the newborns’ body temperatures. Besides, the baby develops cardiovascular stability within a short time after birth (Rodríguez López et al., 2019). The benefits of skin-to-skin are immense to both the mother and the child.
For mothers, the pain associated with breast engorgement is reduced, therefore creating a feeling of safety and relief and reducing the anxiety that women develop when they are pregnant. Additionally, in the first four months after delivery, the baby is likely to have a better affection with the mother, more extended breastfeeding periods, and bonding. Furthermore, the baby will have feelings of happiness, love, and tranquility because of the attachment. The mothers will also feel comfortable when holding their children. This feeling of attention to the child is the one that makes the mother divert the feelings of pain and discomfort associated with it to the pleasure of spending time with her child (Rodríguez López et al., 2019). Mothers must be advised on the importance of skin-to-skin contact with their newborn babies to acquire the benefits associated with it.
Campos, P. M., Gouveia, H. G., Strada, J. K., & Moraes, B. A. (2020). Skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding of newborns in a university hospital. Revista Gaúcha de Enfermagem, 41(spe).
Rodríguez López, J., García Lara, N. R., López Maestro, M., De la Cruz Bértolo, J., Martínez Ávila, J. C., Vento, M., Parra Llorca, A., Izquierdo Macián, I., Pellicer, A., Marín Huarte, N., Asla Elorriaga, I., Román Echevarría, L., Copons Fernández, C., Martín Ancel, A., Cabañas, F., García Algar, Ó., & Pallás Alonso, C. R. (2019). What is the impact of mother’s bed incline on episodes of decreased oxygen saturation in healthy newborns in skin-to-skin contact after delivery: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 20(1).
Safari, K., Saeed, A.A., Hasan, S.S., & Moghaddam-Banaem, L. (2018). The effect of mother and newborn early skin-to-skin contact on initiation of breastfeeding, newborn temperature and duration of third stage of labor. International Breastfeeding Journal, 13(32).
Souza, A. K., Tavares, A. C., Carvalho, D. G., & Araújo, V. C. (2018). Weight gain in newborns submitted to skin-to-skin contact. Revista CEFAC, 20(1), 53-60.