3 reasons why dad should have skin to skin time too

In my experience, skin-to-skin time with mum in most hospitals here in Australia is pretty standard practice. Baby is born, lifted on to mums chest and then later, after mum has had a chance to establish a good breastfeeding latch, baby is weighed in, checked, and then wrapped up or dressed. It’s generally at this point when baby gets some cuddles with dad.

But what about skin-to-skin with DAD? I have witnessed some beautiful births where dad has been aware of the benefits of skin to skin contact with his baby, and has been ready to receive his newborn on his bare chest.

You can find links at the bottom of this article about the general benefits of skin-to-skin time, but what are the benefits specifically relating to dads?

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1: Skin-to-Skin helps dad to bond with his baby

When your baby is born there is a cocktail of hormones rushing through the mother’s body. These hormones play a critical role in every aspect of birth; from establishing contractions to giving mum an almost supernatural boost of energy that helps her push the baby out , to contributing to the birth high or euphoria a mother feels once she’s had the baby placed on her chest, to helping a mother produce milk . But did you know that dad can release some of these hormones too? When baby is placed on dad’s bare chest oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, is released and increases the feeling of connection and bonding he feels with his newborn.

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2: Skin-to-skin helps baby to bond with his/her dad

Your baby has just spent the good part of 10 months nestled in her mother’s womb. She will be intimately familiar with her mother’s movements, and the comfort of her body, however she doesn’t have a chance to form a physical connection with her dad until after birth. Your baby will already be familiar with dad’s voice, but skin to skin gives her chance to feel and smell dad and initiate the bonding process soon after birth.

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3. Skin-to-skin with dad is the next best thing to being skin to skin with mum!

Let’s face it birth can be long, exhausting, messy, emotionally draining… have I missed anything??! Sometimes birth doesn’t go as planned and mum may be be recovering from surgery, or maybe mum simply needs some time to get up and shower. This is a perfect opportunity for Dad to provide a safe place for his new little one. Research indicates that skin-to-skin time with dad helps regulate baby’s body temperature, and they are calmer and cry less than babies who are placed in a cot. it’s also been said that skin-to-skin helps with the colonisation of your baby’s gut flora!

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Did you or your partner do skin to skin time with your baby after birth? if, so I’d love to hear about it below!

If you want to read more about skin-to-skin time check out these articles from Unicef’s baby friendly initiative and BubHub