8 Ways Skin-To-Skin For Dads Benefits A Newborn

It’s no secret that skin-to-skin (aka kangaroo care) is so important for a mother and her newborn baby. But what about dads? They need some love, too! Skin-to-skin for dads is just as important bonding time with their newborns as for moms.

Studies show dads can pass on the same benefits as moms to help newborns regulate their heart rate and breathing, stabilize their temperature, and minimize crying.

My love, Dave, was all about doing skin-to-skin with our twin girls while they were in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and at home for the amazing benefits it provides. Plus, to help me out!

Speaking of amazing benefits…

Here are the eight reasons why skin-to-skin for dads is important for newborns and preemies.

8 Crucial Reasons Why Skin-To-Skin For Dads Helps Their Babies


1. Confidence Booster


Becoming a parent is a huge adjustment, and it’s normal for dads to feel unsure of themselves initially. If that’s you, it’s ok! Join the group of tons of new dads who feel the same.

Holding your baby close skin-to-skin can help boost your confidence as you learn to care for your little one. As you become more comfortable in your new role, you’ll find that skin-to-skin becomes second nature.

For Dave, it definitely did!

skin-to-skin-with-dad

2. Enhance Brain Development


The bond between a dad and his baby is so special!

Research shows that skin-to-skin contact in the first few months of life can play a key role in a baby’s development, influencing positive brain activity and reducing stress hormones.

So yes, keep those snuggles coming.

3. Helps You To Bond With Your Baby


This is an obvious one. 🙂

When you hold your newborn close, not you are not only providing comfort and love, but you are building a special bond early on. This close contact gives you and your sweet babe a chance to get to know each other. More importantly, it allows you to form that all-important attachment.

I know Dave definitely felt more connected while doing skin-to-skin with our girls, Lua and Lily Mae. When it was time for him to hold them, the girls knew his voice because they immediately calmed down when he held them.

The moral of the story is to get your snuggles on!

4. Improve Weight Gain


Holding your sweet pea against your skin helps your baby use their natural instincts and feeding reflexes to begin sucking and swallowing.

These cues may help accelerate premature infants or full-term newborns to gain weight by improving feeding effectiveness.

5. Reduce Stress Levels


We all know that becoming a parent is one of the most stressful life events out there but also the MOST rewarding. But did you know that skin-to-skin contact can help reduce stress levels in both you and your baby?

Research has shown that when you hold your baby close, they experience a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol. So not only is skin-to-skin great for babies, but it’s also beneficial for YOU.

6. Regulate Temperature

Another wonderful benefit of skin-to-skin contact is that it helps regulate your baby’s temperature. A newborn’s body temperature is often lower than what is considered normal, so it’s important to ensure they stay warm.

Skin-to-skin contact helps your baby maintain body temperature by giving them the necessary warmth. It also helps them feel secure and comforted, contributing to their well-being.

7. Stabilize Heart Rate and Breathing


When your babe is skin-to-skin with you, it helps their body self-regulate, which helps to stabilize their heart rate and breathing.

If you have a preemie…

Many preemies experience dips in their heart rate and oxygen levels (since their body is growing and developing), which is why skin-to-skin care in the NICU is so important.

Our twin girls experienced many episodes of dips in their heart rates and breathing. Unfortunately, this was scary to witness and is a very “common preemie thing” in the NICU.

I noticed when Dave did skin-to-skin with Lua and Lily Mae, their heart rates and breathing stabilized more. Of course, the bigger they got, the better it got!

skin-to-skin-with-dad

8. Support Early Breastfeeding Initiation


Supporting early breastfeeding initiation is crucial in ensuring your newborn’s health and well-being. As soon as your baby is born, encourage skin-to-skin contact with Dad to create a warm and comfortable environment.

This immediate bonding strengthens the father-baby connection and promotes the baby’s instinctive rooting reflex. This reflex helps your little one latch onto the mother’s breast more easily, making breastfeeding a smoother and more enjoyable experience for the mom and baby.

So, don’t hesitate to embrace this precious moment, as it sets the stage for a healthy breastfeeding journey if this is something you choose to do.

How To Do Skin-To-Skin (Step-By-Step)


To get your snuggles on the right way, follow these five simple steps:

1. Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.

2. Drape a blanket over you and your baby, ensuring the baby’s head is upright above your heart in between your chest.

3. Keep your baby’s head to one side for easy breathing.

4. Place your baby’s tummy on the upper part of your abdomen while keeping their arms and legs folded.

5. Hold your baby close to your body and relax.

Last but not least, enjoy the bonding experience with your sweet pea! And while you’re enjoying your snuggles, wearing a robe or Kangaroo shirt is super helpful to keep your babe warm and hold them in place.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What is skin-to-skin contact for dads?

Skin-to-skin contact, often called “kangaroo care,” is when a newborn is placed directly against their father’s bare chest. It involves skin-to-skin contact between the baby and dad, promoting physical and emotional bonding.

Why is skin-to-skin contact important for dads?

Skin-to-skin contact for dads is crucial as it helps fathers establish a deep connection with their newborns. It also provides numerous benefits, such as regulating the baby’s temperature, stabilizing their heart rate, and enhancing their overall well-being.

When is the best time for dads to practice skin-to-skin contact with their newborn?

The best time for dads to engage in skin-to-skin contact is right after birth or when the mother and baby are comfortable. It can be continued in the early days and weeks of the baby’s life to maintain the bond and reap the benefits.

Are there any specific techniques for dads to practice effective skin-to-skin contact?

Yes, there are techniques to ensure effective skin-to-skin contact. Dads should undress the upper half of their body and gently place the baby on their chest, covering both with a warm blanket or kangaroo shirt. Ensure a comfortable and relaxed environment to enhance the experience.

Is skin-to-skin contact only beneficial for dads immediately after birth, or can it be continued as the baby grows?

Skin-to-skin contact is beneficial for dads immediately after birth and as the baby continues to grow. While it is especially important in the early days and weeks for bonding and regulating the baby’s vital signs, dads can continue practicing it throughout infancy and even into toddlerhood. It remains a valuable way to nurture the emotional connection between father and child and provide comfort and reassurance to the growing child.

To Wrap It Up


There are countless benefits to skin-to-skin for dads and their newborn babies. Not only does it help babies regulate their heart rate and breathing, but it also helps keep them warm. More importantly, it provides you with an opportunity to bond with your child from the very beginning.

So next time you’re holding your new babe close, don’t forget to take a moment to savor the experience—it’s something you’ll treasure for years to come. Trust me, it goes fast!

Until the next post, I’m sending all the positive parent vibes!

With Gratitude,

Linds

What other tips do you have about skin-to-skin for dads? I’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts, experiences, or questions in the comments below. Your feedback is invaluable and can inspire others on their parenting journey.

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About The Author


Linds is the proud mom of two little miracles, Mono Mono twin girls, and one AMAZING older brother! She is the founder and content creator of Mono Mono Twins, Intensive Therapy for Kids, and Co-Founder of The LENN Foundation, a 510c3 that helps children with cerebral palsy receive grants for intensive therapies to thrive.

lindsey

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