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Physical Methods | Medicinal Methods (Galactagogues)

Latching | Breast Compression | Breastfeed Frequently | Milk Ejection Stimulation | Pumping | Skin-to-Skin

Skin-to-Skin Care

One of the most enjoyable and beneficial things you can do as a mother is simply holding your baby “skin-to-skin.” With baby wearing only a diaper and you wearing nothing on top or a blouse with an open front and no bra, the two of you can snuggle together with baby held upright, nestled between your breasts. 

Holding your baby skin-to-skin has been shown to help increase milk volume.(1)  An additional benefit of skin-to-skin is that baby is also more likely to nurse when he is “in the restaurant” and smelling your milk.  Keeping your newborn skin-to-skin also helps to maintain his physiological stability.  It has been found to help regulate respiration, increase blood oxygenation levels and heart rates, and stabilize body temperature.(2), (3)   The temperature of your breasts will actually increase or decrease in response to your baby’s body temperature to keep his temperature even.  It does this much more effectively than the best warming isolette. (4)  

If you are cold, you can put a blanket around the two of you.  When he is nestled near your heart, baby hears your heartbeat—a very familiar sound from his time in your womb—making him feel very secure and calm.   When you need a break, your partner can hold him in the same way.  Another benefit of skin-to-skin care is that afterwards, your baby is more likely to sleep soundly and peacefully during the night.(5)



(1) Hurst, N., Valentine, C., Renfro, L., et al.  Skin-to-skin holding in the neonatal intensive care unit influences maternal milk volume. J Perinatol 1997 May-Jun; 17(3):213-7.

(2) Acolet, D., Sleath, K., Whitelaw, A. Oxygenation, heart rate and temperature in very low birthweight infants during skin-to-skin contact with their mothers. Acta Paediatr Scand 1989 Mar; 78(2):189-93.

(3) Jonas, W., Wiklund, I., Nissen, E., et al. Newborn skin temperature two days postpartum during breastfeeding related to different labour ward practices. Early Hum Dev 2006 Jul 28; [Epub ahead of print].

(4) Bergman, N., Linley, L., Fawcus, S. Randomized controlled trial of skin-to-skin contact from birth versus conventional incubator for physiological stabilization in 1200- to 2199-gram newborns. Acta Paediatr  2004 Jun; 93(6):779-85.

(5) Ferber, S. and Makhoul, I. The effect of skin-to-skin contact (kangaroo care) shortly after birth on the neurobehavioral responses of the term newborn: a randomized, controlled trial. Pediatrics 2004 Apr; 113(4):858-65.

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