Skin-on-skin time might feel most natural right after your baby has been born. Once the other demands of life return, prepping yourself and baby for skin-on-skin might seem like an activity that can wait, but if you can make space for it, skin-on-skin is so worth it.
The incredible physiological benefits for babies include helping their digestive systems mature, reducing the amount of crying, improving sleep, promoting weight gain, improving immunity, and accelerating brain development.
If you’re feeling down, worried, or anxious-and what new parent isn’t at times-skin-on-skin contact will also release oxytocin, the feel-good hormone.
Here are some tips for getting skin on skin:
- Try taking a bath with your baby. Make sure to have towels ready on the floor within reach before you get in. If possible, ask someone to help you and baby get out of the bath.
- A space heater in the bathroom can give you a little extra warmth.
- If your baby enjoys massage, your light touch with coconut oil or another baby-safe oil is great for skin-on-skin contact. Use dark or older towels because sometimes the massage oil can stain fresh white towels.
- It’s most calming for babies to massage from the center of their bodies out, so lightly rub down your baby’s chest, legs, and arms. The loving touch is what matters here; you don’t have to do lots of how-to research on infant massage.
- Try skin-on-skin while feeding. Consider feeding your baby in just her diaper, your shirt off, and a blanket over your shoulders for warmth. Before you get undressed, try to remember to get a glass of water and anything else you want handy in case your baby falls asleep and you want to relax together.
- Try doing tummy time skin-on-skin. Because of the rooting reflex, this works best if your baby has already been fed.
Skin-on-skin is great for dads, moms, and even supervised siblings.