One of the most read articles in Breastfeeding Medicine last year was “Mapping, Measuring, and Analyzing the Process of Skin-to-Skin Contact and Early Breastfeeding in the First Hour After Birth.” Published in the September 2018 issue, the piece was written by Karin Cadwell, Kajsa Brimdyr and Raylene Phillips and featured a cross-sectional study of eighty-four mothers and newborns during the first hour after birth at a Baby-Friendly hospital.
WHO guidance continues to state that birthing facilities should “facilitate immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact and support mothers to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth,” and that it should be uninterrupted for at least 60 minutes. This contact benefits infants by decreasing the stress of being born, promoting more optimal thermal regulation, decreasing crying, improving cardiopulmonary dynamics, and promoting more optimal blood glucose levels.
Although these benefits are widely researched and confirmed, less than half of newborns worldwide are breastfed in the first hour. This study sought to analyze the process of uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact between healthy newborns and their mothers immediately after planned vaginal birth and identify practice that preclude achievement of immediate, uninterrupted, continuous skin-to-skin contact in the first hour.
The findings revealed that, despite being ideal candidates for skin-to-skin contact in the first hour after birth, 37 percent of newborns didn’t receive immediate skin-to-skin contact after vaginal birth as planned due to emergent cesarean and only 27.4 percent self-attached and suckled. The patterns discovered in the study will help pinpoint where specific interventions would be most effective and strategies for change that could optimize patient outcomes.
Read the article here.