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Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond

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Breastfeeding: How to get off to a good start

Cuddling skin-to-skin with your baby

skin-to-skin contact

Skin-to-skin contact is when your baby is placed naked against your or another caregiver's bare skin. (Your baby may have a hat and diaper.)

The first hour with your baby is a special time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the first hour of a baby's life is spent with uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with mom.

Cuddling skin-to-skin has may benefits:

  • encourages breastfeeding
  • helps regulate your baby's temperature and blood glucose
  • helps create an emotional bond
  • keeps baby warm
  • reduces crying.

Tip

You are encouraged to hold your baby skin-to-skin as often as you can in the hours and weeks to come.

Routine medical care can be done while your baby cuddles with you. Some care can wait and be done at a later time.

Your support person can hold and bond with your baby skin-to-skin too. It is a wonderful way to be a special part of your new baby's life.

Create a birth plan that includes skin-to-skin contact during the first hour after birth. Be sure to include a back-up person to provide skin-to-skin contact if you are unavailable.

Watch your baby's feeding cues

Your baby will give you cues when she is hungry:

Tip

Program your lactation resource(s) into your phone.

  • squirms or has rapid eye movement while the eyes are closed
  • roots or turns her head when her cheek is stroked
  • opens her mouth and searches
  • smacks her lips
  • makes sucking movements
  • puts her hand in her mouth
  • squirms
  • cries (the last cue).

Having your baby stay in your room will make it easier to watch for the following feeding cues.


 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, sixth edition, preg-ahc-90026, ISBN 1-931876-25-8

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 01/29/2013

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts