Skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby at birth reduces crying, improves mother-baby interaction, keeps the baby warmer, and helps women breastfeed successfully.
In many cultures, babies are generally cradled naked on their mother’s bare chest at birth. Historically, this was necessary for the baby’s survival. In recent times, in some societies as more babies are born in hospital, babies are separated or dressed before being given to their mothers. It has been suggested that in industrialized societies, hospital routines may significantly disrupt early mother-infant interactions and have harmful effects. The review was done to see if there was any impact of early skin-to-skin contact between the mother and her newborn baby on infant health, behavior and breastfeeding. The review included 30 studies involving 1925 mothers and their babies. It showed that babies interacted more with their mothers, stayed warmer, and cried less. Babies were more likely to be breastfed, and to breastfeed for longer, if they had early skin-to-skin contact. Babies were also, possibly, more likely to have a good early relationship with their mothers, but this was difficult to measure.