Without doubts, there is always some kind of attachment between every mother and her child. However, this bonding is usually stronger in some momma-baby relations than others, as observed in the number of grown-ups with low affinity and reduced affection for their parents. While some kids grow up to become securely attached to their parents, there are others who grow up without such connection. Overtime, experience has shown that the latter often have difficulties coping with school and life generally.
Although, there are several ways to form a strong bond with a newborn, overtime, skin to skin contact has proven to be the easiest and most rewarding method. Getting attached to bub at the go is the best way to set up an unbreakable bond that will remain for a life time.
Babies and touch
While it may not appear obvious, babies tend to be closest to their mothers while they are still in the womb. They practically depend on them for survival. Everything from food, shelter, warmth, oxygen, nutrients are all supplied by their mothers to sustain them till the moment they are due for delivery. However, immediately after conception, you will quickly discover that they no longer has immediate access to any of these things, which is why there’s a lot of activities on the outside to help get on with their new environment.
Warmth and protection are two essential benefits that are provided to newborns through frequent skin-to-skin contact (also known as Kangaroo care). In fact, it is the first thing mothers are required to do immediately after the birth of their bundle. And in a situation where they are not fit enough to do so, the fathers may have to step in. This is just to tell you how important the Kangaroo care is.
With this in mind, I have decided to discuss a good number of benefits of skin-to-skin care.
Regulates blood sugar
Like you and me, babies derive their energy from glucose, which is why they need lots of it in their bloodstream. Even while in the womb, glucose is one of the essential nutrients babies need to survive. However until they were outside the uterus, they had immediate access to these nutrients from their mothers. But now, they have to depend on the milk from your breasts to get these nutrients.
Guess what happens when the sugar in your breast milk is not enough to meet the baby needs…they feed poorly and look weak most of the time. Crying might be another indication of an insufficient diet, and I won’t be surprised if the problem degenerates to other health challenges.
Sometimes, low sugar level in breast milk and the baby’s liver might be unavoidable, as seen in the cases of pregnant women with gestational diabetes. It is expected that the babies delivered by such women will have unstable glucose level in their bloodstream.
Skin-to-skin care is one of the most effective ways to stabilize your little bundle’s glucose level as well as other nutrients, especially immediately after birth.
Kangaroo care helps to initiate bonding
The old school method of keeping mother and child apart during the Golden Hour doesn't work anymore. Recent discoveries have pointed to an intensified bonding potential that can ensue from keeping both mother and child. This connection which forms the basis for future attraction and affinity is usually mostly active during the first few hours immediately after delivery.
Bonding can never occur without closeness and there is no doubt skin-to-skin contact will help you get really close. So except you have a medical condition that requires separation from your little one sometimes, you should always endeavour to get really close through deliberate skin-to-skin contact.
Amongst other things, bonding helps your bundle of joy to quickly get used to you-your scent, your touch and your voice. Believe me, there’s no better way to create strong connection that can last a lifetime.
Quicker transition to the outside world
The baby’s transition from the womb to the outside world is one that could come with a lot of complications if not properly done. When outside the uterus for the first time, babies generally struggle to adapt to their new world.
If you are well observant, you would have noticed a lot of things with your little pumpkin. For instance, you would have noticed that his eyes were shut for a while after birth…why? Because he’s not used to so much light. Remember, he’s just coming out from the womb. And you know how dark it is inside the womb.
What the kangaroo care does is to make the transition from womb to the new world a whole lot easier. Babies who are allowed to quickly bond with their mothers through this way usually tend to settle into their new environment quickly, even if the baby is born premature.
Momma-baby communication made easier
Amongst other things, communication is undeniably one major area most parents always struggle with when dealing with newborns. From the moment of conception, babies begin to communicate even though it's in a language that's pretty difficult to figure out.
But then, being able to discern your baby needs comes with a host of benefits especially that of the ability to establish a very strong bond even when the kid grows up.
Skin-to-skin contact is one of the easiest ways you can quickly learn to recognize your baby’s signals for hunger, discomfort, and anger. Responding to these needs consequently helps to establish maternal confidence and sense of security and trust.
Better resistance to digestive tract diseases and infection
The early years of motherhood wasn’t particularly easy for me as I watched my first kid suffer a lot of things I didn’t really understand. Thankfully, I learnt a lot along the way which made the latter years quite easier.
From experience, I have come to discover that babies who are frequently separated from their parents tend to have a poor gut health and immunity. Such kids are usually prone to infection because of their weak immune system. Take it from a mom with six kids. Apart from the facts, most of the time, I speak from experience.
Staying connected with your child through intimate body contact helps to stimulate and strengthen his digestive system. There is better intake of nutrients due to larger villi in the gut. Also, there is reduced risk of infection as the babies immune system gets stronger.
Body temperature regulation
While you were still heavy, do you remember all those moments of profuse sweating and strange shivering even when the weather didn't look like it? Right. This was exactly what your baby needed to stay cozy. At that stage in the womb, your baby's temperature was maintained by yours.
But then, immediately after birth, your baby’s temperature is no longer adjusted by you. His ability to respond to heat changes is still very weak which is why much is done to keep him under cover.
Kangaroo care remains one of the best ways you can help keep your babies temperature in check. In fact, when compared with artificial warmers, skin-to-skin contact tend to be more effective.
Experience has shown overtime that babies who are quickly subjected to Kangaroo care do not usually have problem nursing early. Babies that are laid in close skin contact with their mamas tend to suckle and breastfeed more than those who are swaddled and kept under close supervision in the nursery.
With the baby latching sooner and effectively, your milk flow is likely to be steady. And wait, I didn’t tell you-babies do have a strong sense of smell, probably more than you, which makes it all the more easier. So don’t be surprised if bub quickly latches on your perky nipples just after you place him on your chest.
Believe it or not, no mom enjoys a crying baby, no matter how much love you have for the child. Personally, I wish babies would naturally do other things but cry, and I know am not alone in my fairyland. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
Babies do cry and this one of the things that makes them babies. But so much crying can be a nuisance even when it’s coming from your prince charming. Interestingly, skin-to-skin contact can help reduce your incessant howls and wails so that you don’t lose your mind. You know why?
As an adult, there’s usually very little tendency to feel depressed, worried or bad, when in your comfort zone. Well, babies do not feel any different. Thus, when you maintain skin-to-skin contact with your baby, he is likely to cry less because the bonding will make him feel comfortable and secure all the time. More importantly, he is likely to get used to the outside world sooner than you think.
While the kangaroo care is only intensified immediately after birth, experience shows that there is more to gain from ensuring continued close skin contact with your little bundle throughout infancy. The power of touch doesn’t only come with great benefits for your kid but also for you.
So get busy with showing bub how much love you’ve got for him. Skin-to-skin should be your lifestyle through motherhood. Take it from a mother who has seen and experienced it all.