You may have heard about the importance of skin-to-skin time with your baby and you may not have. Skin-to-skin has many benefits, but when becoming a parent through surrogacy, we think the most important part of skin to skin is the bond it helps to develop. Parents through surrogacy are often worried about bonding with their baby and want to facilitate that bond as quickly as possible. The best way to do that is to start spending as much time as possible with your baby undressed and on your bare chest.
You want me to get naked, at the hospital, with my baby?!
The short answer would be HECK YES! Of course, for wee babies, removal of your shirt is the normal go-to and for very good reasons! Skin-to-skin contact has many beneficial outcomes when used consistently. Also known as ‘kangaroo care’, this practice became popular in the 70’s and has increased with the scientific studies that prove how beneficial it can be for both the baby and the parent. Initially used on premature babies, in countries where incubators were rare or unreliable for use, it was shown to decrease infant mortality rates, the risk of hospital transmitted infections, while also increasing the success rates of breastfeeding and healthy weight gain.
Relief from pain
Specifically, during medical procedures or testing, skin-to-skin contact has been proven to effectively reduce pain for the infant. Obviously beneficial for the baby, but it can also provide comfort to the parent during the procedure as well. It’s never an easy task to consent to something that might cause minor harm to your child, in an effort to ensure their health and well-being, but being able to provide your child with comfort, soothing care and warmth help make a tough situation more manageable.
Preterm and low-weight babies
Skin-to-skin is a very effective way of normalizing babies temperature and heart and respiratory rate. It helps with increased weight gain and lowers the risk of babe acquiring an infection while in hospital. As useful as that is, there are additional benefits that have been studied including improved cognitive development, lower stress levels, pain control, growth normalization and positive outcomes for motor development. Sleep patterns, as well as colic, can be supported and possibly improved with consistent skin-to-skin care.
What’s in it for the parents?
Most parents would undertake any task if they knew how beneficial it would be for their child, but skin-to-skin also benefits the parents too! The most immediate improvements would be to parental confidence and bonding. Take this intimate time to talk to your baby, sing songs, whisper dreams and cherish the closeness. Scientific studies support the fact that kangaroo care lowers anxiety, particularly in new parents, and bolsters their confidence in their ability to care for their new baby and other related parenting skills.
Providing skin-to-skin doesn’t just benefit those immediately involved, it also helps your community. It lowers mortality and morbidity rates while also decreasing hospital-related costs. It improves parental satisfaction and offers the opportunity to strengthen community bonds. It provides an opportunity for the passing of knowledge during the postpartum period and follow-up visits. And in the bigger picture, kangaroo care often contributes to reduced hospital stays, a decreased need for expensive medical technology, elevated parental involvement and assists in decreasing health dollars spent by the government.
Strip it off!
For all the reasons above, and more, utilize skin-to-skin time with your child as a regular part of your daily routine – the longer the better! The time spent with your child is time invested in their future selves.
Are you ready to learn more about becoming a parent through surrogacy or egg donation?
Filling out an Intended Parent Interest Form is all it takes to get started.