Skin-to-skin contact improves breastfeeding of healthy babies

Early skin-to-skin contact improves breastfeeding of healthy full-term babies. | National Institute for Health Research

Skin-to-skin contact is the direct contact between a naked baby and the mother’s bare chest. It can occur before or after the baby is cleaned following birth.

This review found that about a quarter more women who have this contact with their babies are still breastfeeding at one to four months after birth compared with those who don’t. The evidence that skin-to-skin contact may also help to stabilise the baby’s heart and breathing rates and blood sugar levels after birth was based on fewer trials and less strong.

These findings support UK good practice to promote immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth to improve breastfeeding rates. It remains one of the important steps recommended by NICE and UNICEF aimed at improving the low rates of breastfeeding in the UK. Other measures include providing a favourable environment, support and education.

Full reference: Moore ER, Bergman N, Anderson GC, Medley N. Early skin-to-skin contact for mothers and their healthy newborn infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;11:CD003519.

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