Big Brother Steps in for Skin-to-Skin Contact

What does family bonding look like in your house?
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
May 2016
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Photo: Shutterstock

Michael Phelps isn’t the only one getting attention for practicing skin-to-skin contact with a newborn. When his twin siblings arrived, this big brother took it upon himself to mimic his father, resting with one of the newborns snuggled on his bare chest.

This might just be an unprecedented level of family bonding. And that’s why the post is receiving so much attention a year after its initial posting on a Swedish Facebook page last year. Last week, it was translated into English and re-posted on NINO Birth’s Facebook page, where over 18,000 users have shared it. And the 800+ comments are backing the benefits of skin-to-skin contact, also known as kangaroo care.

“Our son is a 22-weeker…In his most difficult times we kangarooed him 13 to 17 hours a day to get him to stabilize…We know for sure that our son lives thanks to skin-to-skin care,” one user shared.

“My babies (twins) were born at 24 weeks…we did this at every opportunity. Their stats rose, breathing dependency reduced and they (and I) got a whole lot happier,” comments another.

While the skin-to-skin benefits between mom and baby are already well-known (studies routinely reiterate how it reduces the risk of postpartum depression and makes breastfeeding easier), there are gender-neutral perks as well: A 2012 Cochrane study found babies cried significantly less after regular skin-to-skin contact. And the release of oxytocin—the “cuddling hormone”—in both parent and baby promotes feelings of attachment and relaxation.

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