NEW BABY AND SKIN TO SKIN CONTACT - INTUITION MEETS EVIDENCE BASED MEDICINE
New parents share a common desire to do what’s best for their new baby. There is so much parenting advice available – being overwhelmed is expected! One contentious topic of debate is skin to skin contact – some claim it is an absolute necessity for optimal development of a child, while others don’t feel it is as important. Among natural parenting groups, we err on the side of maximizing skin-to-skin contact, for many reasons. For a human newborn, life is a sensory experience. Skin to skin contact offers the most neuro-favorable sensory experience for a little one. It’s interesting to note that all cultures, throughout all of time, practice this very natural form of bonding. However, in recent times our North American culture has shifted its perspective on its necessity. Let’s examine some research that supports our instinctual desire to physically connect with our new baby.
Natural Parenthood – from day 1
A baby knows Mom in ways we may never fully understand. The mystery of this magical relationship is being unravelled by modern science. We now know that Mom’s smell signals the neurological firing of pathways in the baby’s AMYGDALA, sending a message of safety and security to a newborn’s delicate and developing brain. In the same way, the newborn has a wondrous effect on Mom to produce Oxytocin – a chemical that has been often referred to as the “love hormone.” Don’t despair, Dad, a Father’s warm touch should begin at birth also. Especially in the case of c-section births, fathers are incredibly vital to minimizing separation – given the immense benefits, let’s reclaim what we know to be true in our hearts – we want to be near our new baby. Skin to skin contact is a good thing, from the moment we welcome them into the world.