Today on the blog, we are so happy to share with you Hayley Mullins from Sleepbelt chatting about the importance of skin-to-skin contact with your babies. Based on her own experience, Hayley and her sister created SleepBelt, an amazing Canadian product to facilitate skin-to-skin. We have tried with our own granddaughter and we love it!!
Skin-to-skin with your babies
When my first daughter was born in 2012, I struggled. It didn’t matter how much information or how many warnings I received about what life with a newborn would be like… I may as well have been hit by an 18-wheeler. I was exhausted, everything hurt, I could barely function. The only moments of peace I seemed to find were when my sweet baby was snuggled on my chest - the smell of her, her warmth, her sweet little sounds – those moments reminded me of why I had done this. Needless to say, we spent a LOT of time snuggling (obvious inspiration for SleepBelt); as a new mom, I instinctively knew how good it was for both of us… what I didn’t know was the science behind it:
Better Sleep & Increased Growth:
When skin-to-skin, babies tend to fall asleep faster and for longer periods of time. In doing so, this allows babies to conserve their energy and disburse their calories towards growth.
What new mom doesn’t wish for better sleep & a healthy, growing baby?
A study in the journal Pediatrics reports that skin-to-skin contact for as little as three hours a day can reduce infant crying by 43 percent. This can lead to lower stress levels for a new mother who is otherwise unsure how to calm her crying infant.
FOURTY THREE PERCENT. That’s almost half!!!
Lower risk for Postpartum Depression:
Mothers suffering from postpartum depression during the first six weeks after birth is something very common. A recent study reveals that new mothers who had six hours of skin-to-skin contact during the first week followed by at least two hours during the next month reported fewer depressive symptoms. Saliva samples confirmed lower cortisol levels, a marker of stress, than their counterparts.
ACTUAL SCIENCE!!!! It works.
Better gut and immune system:
The antibodies found in a mother’s breast milk help build a strong immune system. Also, kangaroo care after birth allows the baby’s skin and gut to be colonized by its mother’s bacteria instead of foreign bacteria.
We’ve all heard the benefits of breastfeeding, BUT no matter how you choose to feed your baby, skin-to-skin benefits them.
Relief from pain:
Studies show that when skin-to-skin is applied during certain procedures, such as a heel stick for blood sampling, babies experience less pain and the “duration of pain in shortened”.
There’s nothing more heartbreaking than hearing your baby cry in pain and not being able to help… guess what? You can!!! Yay Skin-to-Skin!
(Source for two above: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19948613)
You know what else is great about skin-to-skin? It’s a great way for dads/partners to bond with baby as well… and if someone else is bonding with baby, that means mom can nap. Just saying…
Hayley Mullins is the inventor & co-founder (along with her sister, Ashley Wade) of SleepBelt, a patented hands free skin-to-skin support system. SleepBelt is recommended by La Leche League International in “Sweet Sleep” and used in Hospitals across North America for kangaroo care in the NICU, infant fall prevention, and to facilitate immediate skin-to-skin in the O.R. The product was inspired when her then-2-week old daughter rolled off her chest while skin-to-skin; it has since evolved and can be used beyond this initial application – hold baby forward facing on your lap, or as added security on a chair when you’re on the go. Visit www.sleepbelt.net for more.