The benefits of skin to skin contact at birth

Building the bond between mother and baby is the first step to achieving happy breastfeeding.
Building the bond between mother and baby is the first step to achieving happy breastfeeding.

This article is sponsored by Wollongong Private Hospital

THERE is nothing quite like a mother’s touch. In fact touch is the greatest sense in our body and the first language of communication between a mother and their baby.

The benefits of skin to skin contact in the first few minutes following birth help release ‘the hormone of love’ oxytocin, establishing the lifelong bonding process that enhances the baby’s interest in feeding.

Mothers are known for setting high expectations and breastfeeding can be quite daunting so here are some handy tips from lactation consultant and clinical nurse, Leanne Wallace at Wollongong Private Hospital.

Whether you're thinking of having a baby, trying to conceive or preparing for your future birth these tips will settle your nerves and make breastfeeding a little more enjoyable. 

Touch is the mother of all senses 

“Encourage skin to skin contact at the earliest given moment for at least one hour after birth, allowing mothers to recognise when their babies are ready to breastfeed. Touch is a basic behavioural need with implications of abnormal behaviour if remained unsatisfied,” said Ms Wallace. 

Whether it’s in the birthing suite, after a caesarean, in the theatre or in recovery this will establish the beginning of your bond and help stabilise blood sugar levels.  

The power of positivity  

Be confident in your belief and relish your moment. 

“Most importantly a mother who is positive, confident and focused on feeding will find the experience more enjoyable for herself and her baby,” said Ms Wallace.

Strong support system

Having a strong network around you is really important. Encourage your loved ones, particularly your partner to be involved and help out where necessary. Wollongong Private Hospital offers a variety of support networks for patients who wish to learn more. This is a great opportunity to interact with other mothers and grow your network, maybe even a future playdate.   

Caring hands

To safeguard your little one ensure hand hygiene is a top priority. What seems like such an easy task can sometimes be forgotten so make sure it’s done properly for all facets of your care.  

The provider 

Your number one may have just arrived but don’t forget about yourself! Milk is the lifeblood of your baby and providing quality care and nutrients is essential in their growth.

“So take the time to rest, hydrate regularly and maintain a balanced diet,” said Ms Wallace.

Building your baby’s palate 

Feed the soul with fresh food and bright colours. Your baby will love you for it. 

“By ensuring your diet is enriched with different flavours, your baby will be introduced to a variety of flavours and taste sensations. This will assist with the introduction of solids at a later stage,” according to lactation consultant, Leanne Wallace. Who knew?   

Visit the Wollongong Private Hospital Maternity Ward’s Open Day on Sunday 25th June and join Leanne Wallace for her free session, “Ask the Midwife” at 10am to learn more about baby care and the services available. Limited spaces - register here.

This article is sponsored by Wollongong Private Hospital