Breastfeeding bonds mothers and babies
A mother’s bond with their newborn early on is critical to their connection. Decades of research tout the benefits of skin-to-skin contact, supporting the idea of breastfeeding for instant connection as well as healthier outcomes.
A leading nursing journal continues to provide evidence of that fact. Nursing for Women’s Health, the clinical practice journal of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, said even though in years past mothers who had Cesarean births did not always immediately breastfeed, the philosophy is changing.
A recent quality improvement project demonstrated that the birth experiences of women were improved by implementing skin-to-skin contact after a Cesarean surgery. The study found that the direct contact with their newborn close to their bodies allowed the baby to latch on sooner. Additionally, health benefits of breastfeeding included fewer colds for the newborn, longer periods of sleep, improved weight gain, decreased crying, longer periods of alertness and earlier hospital discharge.
“There is so much research on the benefits of skin-to-skin,” says Dr. Judith Cothran, obstetrician/gynecologist at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “Breastfeeding enhances brain development, children have fewer issues with illness and the instant connection with their mothers.”
The nurses did say there are challenges of implementing skin-to-skin contact after a Cesarean birth. One obstacle is that newborns are often separated from their mothers for a significant time right after birth. Women also have experienced mental and physical fatigue from the pain and sedation medications.
“Nurses working in labor and birth settings should promote the practice of skin-to-skin contact between women and their newborn infants immediately following birth, given the significant health benefits associated with this experience,” said study leader Judith Ann Moran Peters, in a news release. “The moments right after birth represent the ideal timeframe for initiating breastfeeding, which generates important health benefits for the baby.”
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