Updated: Aug 18, 2022
This week we are going to focus on a topic near and dear to all parents’ hearts: SLEEP!
Did you know that skin-to-skin contact promotes better sleep for your baby? It’s true!
According to Rebecca Michi, children's sleep consultant, “Skin to skin contact is one of Mother Nature’s most powerful weapons … Human contact is one of the most essential forms of communication for us all. Now here’s the most amazing part: research has shown that babies (and parents) are not only happier when they engage in skin to skin sessions, but that the act can also help babies to sleep better.”
Just in case you need more examples of why skin-to- skin contact is so important, here’s our roundup. Skin-to-skin contact:
Regulates your baby’s temperature heart rate and breathing patterns
Improves breastfeeding success by increasing mom’s milk supply, forming a stronger bond between mom and baby and boosting the release of oxytocin
Helps baby absorb and digest nutrients
Decreases stress for you and your baby
Improves your baby’s weight gain and growth
Improves brain development and parental attachment, which has long-term benefits into adulthood
Helps your baby conserve energy so they can focus on learning instead of surviving
Fosters empathy and strengthens positive relationships
All of these incredible benefits work together to improve your baby’s quality of sleep. This means longer naps, more peaceful sleep at night and less crying. A more rested and healthy baby also means a more rested and less stressed you. Need we say more?
Sleep is essential for everyone, especially for babies because their brain is growing so rapidly. According to Sanford Health, babies spend an “increased time in the very important deep sleep and quiet alert states” when they practice skin-to-skin contact. Deep sleep is crucial for healthy development.
“During skin-to-skin contact, most infants fall asleep easily and achieve deep sleep, also known as quiet sleep, for an hour or more. Quiet sleep is beneficial for accelerating brain patterning and maturation. Development of mature brain function in infants is impacted by the quality of a baby’s sleep cycling” (Seitz, 2018).
Skin-to-skin contact is great for your baby any time of the day, but it’s particularly beneficial for their sleep pattern when your baby is calm and ready for a nap. After bath time, before it’s time to nurse or bottle feed or during their evening nap are great options.
“Try to keep baby in position for an hour because this allows baby to go through a full sleep and wake cycle. Being on mom’s chest helps your baby settle in better to that rhythm” (Seitz, 2018).
Don’t forget that skin-to-skin contact is also tremendously beneficial for mom or whoever is practicing it. It promotes the release of oxytocin (the feel good hormone), which helps you to relax and bond with your baby. So, while they’re snoozing, your stress levels should also decrease.
Brew a cup of tea, grab a good book and snuggle your adorable baby. You can rest easy knowing that you are helping your baby rest easy.
Michi, R. (2022, January 9). How Skin to Skin Can Improve Baby Sleep. Children's Sleep Consultant. https://childrenssleepconsultant.com/the-beauty-of-skin-to-skin/
Seitz, J. L. (2018, August 9). The Importance of Skin-to-Skin with Baby After Delivery. Sanford Health News. https://news.sanfordhealth.org/childrens/the-importance-of-skin-to-skin-after-delivery-you-should-know/