Skin-to-skin time after your baby is born

Skin-to-skin time means holding your baby naked or dressed only in a nappy against your skin, usually under your top or under a blanket. It is a very special time that lays the foundations for strong parent-baby relationships. You are encouraged to do this immediately after your baby is born, or as soon as it is safe to do so. It is recommended that a baby has skin-to-skin time with their mother first, but partners can also enjoy skin-to-skin time later on. 

Skin-to-skin time with your baby:

  • provides warmth, comfort, and closeness for both of you
  • encourages their natural feeding reflexes
  • stimulates milk production
  • helps you to bond with your baby
  • soothes and comforts your baby at any time
  • helps to regulate their heart rate, breathing and temperature
  • helps to protect them from infection

During your pregnancy, speak to your midwife about the benefits of skin-to-skin time and how to position your baby safely during this special time. 

The position of your baby during skin-to-skin is important and once you have had your baby you will be supported to ensure that: 

  • You are not lying flat and therefore your baby is not fully prone (flat) on you. 
  • Your baby’s airway is clear
  • Your baby’s legs are flexed
  • You are feeling well enough to hold your baby 

You should also speak to your midwife about:

  • safe sleeping (both at night and during the day)    
  • how to assess your baby’s well-being (babies can become poorly quite quickly but can also get better quickly with the right treatment) so you feel confident in recognising the signs that your baby may be unwell
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