Skin-to-skin contact with your newborn
Skin-to-skin contact means holding your baby naked against your skin, usually under your top or under a blanket.
When your baby is born, you will be encouraged to have skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible.
Benefits of skin-to-skin contact
Your baby will be able to hear the comforting sound of your heartbeat and voice, which will help calm and relax them.
Skin-to-skin contact also helps:
- regulate your baby's temperature, breathing and heart rate
- boost your milk supply and stimulate your baby's feeding instincts
- you bond with your baby
- release the hormone oxytocin – your body's natural feel-good chemical
- build your baby's immunity to infections
This Unicef video on meeting your baby for the first time describes the importance of skin-to-skin contact.
Special-care babies and skin contact
If your baby needs special care after they're born, it may not be possible for you to hold your baby straight away. The maternity team will support you to gently touch your baby or hold their hand.
Any amount of touch will be a comfort to your baby. Remember that you will be able to enjoy lots of skin-to-skin as soon as your baby is well enough.
Skin-to-skin contact at home
Continue having skin-to-skin contact when you're at home, especially in the first few days and weeks (and months if you are happy to continue).
It will help calm your baby when they are hungry or upset, and will help your baby form a strong attachment to you.