Munson Health
Starting Life Skin to Skin

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by Jones P
Passing from a comfy womb to the outside world is a major change for the newborn. Life outside the womb means the baby’s body now has to manage its own temperature, the digestive system needs to start up, the immune system faces new challenges and the baby is now exposed to a new environment. Of course, staying in the womb isn’t an option but some skin-to-skin contact with mom may help ease the transition.
IMAGE Skin to skin contact, also known as kangaroo care, is laying a naked baby on the mother’s bare chest. It may first occur shortly after birth but some also continue through infancy. The baby can also be placed against the father’s bare chest. It was originally done for premature infants who did not have access to incubators but research has found that there are plenty of benefits for all infants.


American College of Cardiology

American Heart Association



Health Canada

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada



Early skin-to-skin contact for mothers and their healthy newborn infants. WHO reproductive library website. Available at: Accessed September 20, 2013.

Ferber S, Makhoul I.The Effect of Skin-to-Skin Contact (Kangaroo Care) Shortly After Birth on the Neurobehavioral Responses of the Term Newborn: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Pediatrics. 2004 Apr;113(4):858. Available at:

The Baby Friendly Inititative. UNICEF UK website. Available at: Accessed September 24, 2013.


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