Are you aware of the fact that human beings are born 12 months earlier, as far as neurological development, than other mammals? So what does this mean? Should you be doing something different with your baby because of this? Dr. Nils Bergman gives a resounding YES! Think about baby Joeys or kangaroos. You know, they are born too early to survive unless they attach to a teat inside of mom’s nice warm and snug pocket.
Dr. Bergman isn’t suggesting that your baby stay attached to your breast 24/7, but he is imploring you to stay in skin to skin contact with your baby for as many hours a day as you can; until she no longer needs it. Here’s what skin to skin contact does for you and your baby:
1. It keeps your baby at the perfect temperature.
How much do you care about eating when you are cold or hot? Probably not a lot. Your chest determines your baby’s temperature when she is in skin contact with you AND
- Warms up, if she is too cold
- Cools down, if she is too warm
- Each breast takes care of each baby, when nursing twins.
Pretty cool? Huh?
2. Your hormones and therefore your milk will flow better.
Oh, yeah baby. Get that prolactin and oxytocin flowing for great milk production and letdowns. Don’t be surprised to see one breast leaking while your baby is eating from the other. This can be very empowering to see. Every time she triggers a letdown both breasts let down.
3. Your baby will learn to breastfeed sooner and better.
You probably best learn new skills when you feel secure. Well, guess what? Your baby needs to be on your bare chest as many hours a day as possible. This is her natural habitat and where she feels completely secure. Here learning best takes place.
4. Your baby will feed more frequently.
Think for a moment about your baby’s tummy size. At birth it is about the size of a hazelnut or shooter marble. She needs to eat very frequently to grow. After 1 week, her e tummy holds an ounce. But the other part of the equation is that breastmilk digests in 90 minutes. Yes…frequent feeds are good and necessary.
5. Your baby will be calm, which allows her brain to develop properly.
Why is this? Dr. Bergman says, “Babies’ brain development requires skin to skin contact and being held and carried, and eye to eye contact to form the right brain pathways. Depriving babies of this skin to skin care makes alternative stress pathways which can lead to Attention Deficit Disorder, colic, sleep disorders etc.”
All of this helps your baby become an awesome breastfeeder and you a fantastic producer of milk.