Skin-to-skin means holding your baby naked against your skin. When your baby is born, you will be encouraged to have skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible.

Nurturing Through Touch

Skin-to-skin is really important for babies and helps them to adjust to life outside of the womb where they have been for the past 9 months or so. Having skin-to-skin helps mothers to initiate breastfeeding and develop a close bond with your baby.

Temperature Regulation

There are so many benefits to doing skin-to-skin and a really important one is regulating their temperature and calming and reducing stress (for you and baby). Skin-to-skin is really beneficial even if not feeding and your partner can also do skin-to-skin too, which can help them to bond with your baby as well.

Stress Relief

Feeding your baby can sometimes become stressful whether because baby is unsettled or other feeding issues. Going back to basics and spending time having skin-to-skin and cuddling can help relax both mum and baby, meaning feeding can become easier and less stressful.

Why skin-to-skin is important

Breastfeeding and skin-to-skin releases oxytocin in both you and your baby, which will help you both feel close and connected. Bonding is a gradual process, and it can take days, weeks or months to build that special closeness. Lots of skin-to-skin and breastfeeding will help to grow and strengthen the bond.

Skin to skin after birth

Skin-to-skin can help

  • Relax both you and your baby after your baby is born
  • Regulate your baby’s heart rate and breathing
  • Provide uninterrupted quality time for you to bond with your baby
  • Stimulate the release of hormones (oxytocin) to support breastfeeding
Skin to skin with dad

Your partner can also give skin-to-skin too

This will help your baby to feel calm and secure, as well as growing that bond between them.


For more information on the benefits of skin to skin visit UNICEF.

UNICEF recommends

  • All mothers have skin-to-skin with their baby after they are born for as long as they wish, or at least until they have had their first feed
  • Mothers to be are supported to have their baby’s first feed whilst having skin-to-skin contact
  • If mothers are unable to have skin-to-skin straight away for various reasons they should be supported to have this as soon as they are able to