It appears beneficial for mothers and babies to have one hour of skin-to-skin contact per day in the first five weeks after birth. Mothers who do so may experience less anxiety and fatigue, and often continue to breastfeed for longer. Their babies cry less and may sleep longer. These are the conclusions of behavioural psychologist Kelly Cooijmans, who defended her PhD dissertation at Radboud University on 17 November.
In skin-to-skin contact, the baby is laid on the parent’s bare chest wearing only a nappy. Previous research has already clearly shown that this type of contact can have positive results when applied between a parent (the mother or other parent/guardian) and a premature baby (a baby born too early). It showed that babies who experience this contact may grow faster and are less likely to be ill, reducing the time they have to spend in an incubator. Similar positive effects have now been found among healthy, full-term babies (babies born between the 37th and 42nd week of pregnancy) when skin-to-skin