Before a baby is born, it is safe inside its mother. It is a warm, snug, and dark environment. All of the baby’s needs are being met without any cues or requests. When a baby is born, however, its new world is bright, cold, and essentially limitless in size. Mom and baby need to get to know one another and to learn cues, often cries, for the baby’s various needs such as food, clean diapers, and sleep. It is a dramatic change in a very short period of time. To help with this change, after a baby is born birth providers are beginning to encourage skin-to-skin contact, particularly between mother and baby. Often called “kangaroo care,” this practice of cuddling with a newborn has always existed, but it has not always been put into practice. Now that it is becoming more and more common, it is good to know why!
Skin-to-skin contact is when the baby is placed bare chest to bare chest with its mother, usually directly after birth. The baby can wear a diaper and a hat, and a blanket or towel can be placed over baby’s back. Beyond the delivery room, skin-to-skin contact can be shared with the baby’s mother or father, or any loved one or caregiver. The most noticeable benefits can be seen immediately after birth, but can be experienced with ongoing kangaroo care many weeks into the baby’s life.
Skin-to-skin contact, especially in the first hour after delivery, can increase levels of oxytocin in mother and baby. Oxytocin promotes bonding between two people, so it is obviously important to raise oxytocin levels between mother and child. To begin the postnatal mother-child relationship with uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact has proven to improve mother-child bonding, which forms a solid foundation for the future. As others can share skin-to-skin contact with the baby, similar bonding outcomes can be experienced with other trusted loved ones. The baby may be more relaxed with mother and others, and loved ones may feel more confident and relaxed as caregivers.
When there is early sustained contact between mother and child, many factors in the baby can be regulated more readily. According to studies, blood glucose levels, body temperature, brain oxygenation, and stress hormone (cortisol) levels stabilize with kangaroo care. It has been noted that newborns cry less and sleep more because of improved relaxation. Improved maternal responsiveness to baby’s cues can be noted as well.
An especially impressive response to skin-to-skin contact is that the baby’s immune system improves. Through contact with the mother’s skin, the baby comes into contact with the bacteria (flora) that is normal to the mother. This is important because it begins to colonize the bacteria that will be normal to the baby, which will help the baby’s immune system to begin to develop. The risk of early-onset infection or illness, including hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infection, is reduced.
If mother chooses to breastfeed, breastfeeding success may be improved with early skin-to-skin contact with baby. One of the most exciting things to experience is that a baby is born with the instinct to nurse. If placed chest to chest with the mother it is born, the baby will instinctively crawl, unassisted, to the mother’s breast to nurse. Beyond this first instinct, breastfeeding success improves with continued kangaroo care. Partially due to proximity, the mother more quickly learns to recognize the baby’s hunger cues. The baby is able to nurse “on demand,” which can improve baby’s satiety and the mother’s confidence that she is fulfilling her baby’s needs. Studies have shown that babies who experience early skin-to-skin care tend to breastfeed exclusively and successfully breastfeed longer than those babies who have delayed, or no, skin-to-skin contact after delivery. If breastfeeding is a mother’s choice for her child, skin-to-skin contact may be a huge asset.
Cuddling our babies is so natural and can be such a wonderful experience. It is so nice to know that it is doing our babies a lot of good as well!
We are excited to announce the arrival of Eliza Maureen Tomko on January 23, 2018. She was 7.0 pounds and 20.0 inches!
Dr. Danielle Tomko will be returning to her regular schedule as of Saturday March 24, 2018. Please call the office (716) 877-0676 to book an appointment, or make an appointment online!
Shawn Marie Olszewski is a new addition to our practice. Shawn brings over 12 years of experience with her that includes Medical Massage, Swedish Massage, Deep tissue Massage, Trigger point Therapy, Cranial Sacral, Reiki, and Prenatal Therapy. She is also a member of the American Massage Therapy Association and received her training from the Wellness and Massage Therapy Institute in Chicago IL. Shawn is able to customize a Massage Therapy session to benefit your needs. Call or visit our website to schedule an appointment!
2 Cups All Natural Oats
⅓ Cup Brown Sugar (I used the Splenda blend)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Salt
½ Cup Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Strawberries
⅔ Cup Blueberries
1 Ripe Banana
2 Cups Milk
1 Large Egg
2 Tbsp Butter (cooled)
1 tsp Vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a 10×10 casserole dish generously with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half the chocolate chips, & half the berries. Stir well and pour into casserole dish. Add the other half of the berries & chocolate chips to the top of the mixture. Then, slice the banana & add to top.
In a separate bowl, combine milk, egg, butter, & vanilla. Whisk thoroughly. Pour on top of oatmeal mixture, making sure the all oats are soaked evenly.
Bake for 30 minutes. Then, remove casserole & add a tablespoon of brown sugar to the top of the casserole for added sweetness (optional.) Bake for an additional 5 or 10 minutes or until the top of the casserole is golden brown.