When your baby has been born, you will be encouraged to have the baby immediately lying against your skin. This skin-to-skin contact has been shown to be exceptionally important for keeping newborns warm and helping them maintain their body temperature as well as colonising their skin with good bacteria.
For those who are going to breastfeed, it is an important first step towards establishing successful breastfeeding. Babies are alert at this time and will often start looking for the breast. The skin-to-skin contact can continue for as long as you want, but we recommend the baby stays skin to skin with you (and only you) until the first breastfeed. After the baby has fed, dad or partners are welcome to have baby skin to skin while you shower or rest.
If you need stitches after birth, they can be put in without having to move your baby and having baby skin to skin can be an excellent distraction. Your baby can also be weighed and checked and returned to you without being dressed, so you can continue this close contact.
If you have a caesarean section or need to go to theatre after birth you will be able to have skin-to-skin contact while the operation is being completed, so long as you feel well. Otherwise, your baby will remain with you but wrapped up while you are in the operating theatre and will be unwrapped to be with you when you return to your room.
Dads can also have skin-to-skin contact, but if your baby is going to breastfeed, then time with the mother is most important initially until baby has had its first breastfeed.