Skin-to-skin contact is a method of caring for newborn infants that involves putting the infant on the mother’s chest skin-to-skin. Skin-to-skin contact is an important component of a method of newborn care called “Kangaroo Care”. In skin-to-skin contact, the baby is placed between the mother’s breasts dressed only in a diaper, and possibly a hat, so that frontal body contact of mother and infant is skin-to-skin; the infant and mother are covered, and the mother provides warmth and stimulation that simulates the prenatal environment. Although the benefits of skin-to-skin contact both for premature and full-term infants have been extensively researched, there has been less attention paid to its effects on the mother and the developing mother-infant relationship.
A multidisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners led by Dr. Ann Bigelow, Professor of Psychology at St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada, conducted a study to examine the impact of mother-infant skin-to-skin contact on mothers and their developing relationship with their babies. The DVDs, “Enhancing Baby’s First Relationship: A Parents’ Guide for Skin-to-Skin Contact with Their Infants” and “Enhancing Baby’s First Relationship: Results from a Study on Mother-Infant Skin-to-Skin Contact”, highlight findings from this study along with accounts by mothers and fathers about their experiences with skin-to-skin care with their infants. These DVDs have been created for expectant and new parents and for the perinatal care practitioners who support and care for them during this important time. All the DVDs are available for download from this website for non-commercial educational purposes only.
A Parents’ Guide for Skin-to-Skin Contact with Their Infants gives a general overview of the findings (length 20 minutes).