Breastfeeding

A couple with a baby, a woman nursing a baby and a toddler cuddle with a woman

Holding Your Baby Skin-to-Skin

Your bare chest is the best place for your baby to adjust to life outside the womb.

The first hours of snuggling skin-to-skin help you and your baby bond and get to know each other. Hold your baby belly-down on your chest or tummy immediately after birth. Keep cuddling skin-to-skin as often as possible in the months after birth. The benefits for bonding and breastfeeding continue long after that. Skin-to-skin is also better for babies born prematurely or by Caesarean birth.

 

Video: Breastfeeding and Skin-to-Skin Contact (Transcripts)

Disclaimer: Skin-to-skin practices may vary among hospitals. Consider skin-to-skin contact as part of your birth plan.

Reproduced with permission from the Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Health and Perinatal Services BC

ExpandSkin-to-skin is easy. Here's how:

  1. Take off your baby's blankets and clothing. Leave diaper on.
  2. Move clothing away from your chest and tummy.
  3. Hold your baby, facing you, against your chest or tummy.
  4. You can put a blanket over you and your baby.
  5. Enjoy the closeness and bonding with your baby.

If you haven't held your baby skin-to-skin yet, start now! It's not too late.

ExpandBenefits of Holding Your Baby Skin-to-Skin

Babies:

  • Breastfeed better
  • Cry less and are calmer
  • Stay warmer
  • Enjoy more comfort from you
  • Have better blood sugar levels
  • Are protected by some of your good bacteria

Mothers

  • Breastfeed more easily
  • Learn when your baby is getting hungry
  • Bond more with your baby
  • Gain confidence and satisfaction caring for your baby 

Breastfeeding

  • Your baby is more likely to have a successful first breastfeed
  • Your baby may breastfeed sooner and longer
  • You will make more breast milk
  • Helps your baby breastfeed when sleepy

Family and Skin-to-Skin

Your family members can also spend skin-to-skin time with your baby. If you have a partner, plan skin-to-skin time together with your baby. It's a great way for you and your partner to spend time together and bond with your baby.

ExpandSafe Sleep

Babies under six months old should be placed on their back in a crib or cradle close to your bed when you are ready to sleep. It is important that cribs and cradles meet current Canadian safety regulations. Learn more about safe sleep for your baby.