My oldest, Nico, was born with a special gift. He LOVES babies. He particularly loves his little sisters. Fiercely. I’ve never had to push bonding with them or deal with jealousy issues (yet). However, it’s still wonderful to create moments that he can bond with his newest sibling, and skin to skin / kangaroo care is one way that I’ve done so!
Kangaroo care involves the practice of carrying the baby on the mother’s chest, similarly to how a kangaroo carries their young. According to NINO Birth, “skin to skin contact between mother and baby promotes regulation of body temperature in the newborn. Skin to skin helps the baby to breathe better. The child becomes more calm and gains weight faster.” The newborn also can hear the heartbeat of the mother when pressed against her chest, a soothing and familiar sound from being in the womb.
According to KidsHealth.org, “touch becomes an early language as babies respond to skin-to-skin contact.”
Many dads also engage in skin to skin bonding time with their newborns. My husband has done skin to skin with each of my children while still in the hospital and after arriving home. Of course, with Milana, we were already home 🙂 It’s often quite hard for dad’s to bond with newborns since mom is the one that baby often needs and wants, particularly if breastfeeding, and skin to skin is one of the best ways to promote a relationship between dad and baby, in addition to the other listed benefits.
While skin to skin between mom and baby and dad and baby is growing in popularity every day, not many families engage in skin to skin between older siblings and new babies! If siblings see mom or dad engaging in skin to skin, they may be naturally inclined to try it themselves. With Nico, his desire for skin to skin was almost immediately after birth. I was lucky to capture the above photo of him with his little sister (while juggling making sure she didn’t go flying if he made a sudden movement). This photo represents pure love and joy to me.
Studies show that the newborn baby smell stimulates a part of our brains that promotes attachment. Did you and your baby’s father engage in skin to skin with your babies? What about siblings? Is that something you’d be willing to try?
I encourage you to spend some time with your babies skin to skin- it’s nearly impossible not to come away with a natural high. Babies have a way of doing that to us!