NBAW 2019 England – Skin to Skin by JennyTheM

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A Call To Arms for #SkinToSkin © JennyTheMBreastfeeding Week England 2019

NB Spoiler alert ? May contain evidence that #SkinToSkin leads to successful breastfeeding

It started with a DM (a direct private message sent privately to someone you follow on Twitter)

This week I had quite a poignant DM from an infant feeding team, about paediatricians putting up barriers towards midwives facilitating #SkinToSkin at caesarean section.  And I hear stories of courage and determination all the time from some wonderful #SkinToSkin warriors, which makes me ask the question “Why should SkinToSkin be such a fight?” It is certainly worth fighting for!

The EVIDENCE shows that #SkinToSkin contact is effective in preventing hypothermia/ hypoglycaemia. However,  the most important benefits that #SkinToSkin can have is to influence the baby’s ability to start the first breastfeed. Most mammals can find their way to their mothers milk by walking  – newborn humans are able  to do a birth crawl by receiving immediate uninterrupted #SkinToSkin contact – massive energy is required for brain activity hence birth-workers must be speedy and skilled. The calmness a newborn experiences in skin to skin contact reduces the production of cortisol  (a hormone of stress aka an unhappy hormone with a negative effect on brain development). 

Why are maternity service workers afraid of the JUST DO IT approach? Do we not have enough rebellious role models out there? Instead of working against our respective disciplines shouldn’t we be working for women and families?

Time for a reboot. Switch off and switch on again.
A go slow.

Time indeed, for an NHS team talk. 

Is the fast paced world of digital technology making us lose our patience with physiology? There is new evidence to show that humans are finding it more difficult to relax and much easier to feel stressed. Have we got time for SkinToSkin?

In fact when we facilitate SkinToSkin we are contributing to so much more than just that: we are influencing the amount of love in the world. We are spreading joy and happiness – but most of all we are helping mothers to be mothers, reducing mental health issues, reducing maternal and infant long term morbidity, raising self esteem, making babies safer and giving women a chance. We are influencing breastfeeding, gut safety, world health and human development.

SkinToSkin should be a part of every shift handover, maternity system meeting, neonatal paediatric unit team brief and every antenatal appointment . SkinToSkin MUST be written about in newspapers, talked about in government, on the radio and televison. We must infiltrate all areas like SkinToSkin SAS crew so that SkinToSkin becomes an intrinsic and revered routine part of maternity care. So let’s start flooding the market. Mothers can no longer be left to pick up the pieces because of SkinToSkin incompetency or lack of insight.

HARP ON about SkinToSkin as much as you can. SkinToSkin can and does influence a baby’s ability to have its first breastfeed, and the many breastfeeds after that as well.

Get more skilful with SkinToSkin- share stories about it and reach out to others , ask questions, challenge the naysayers .

Be a SkinToSkin radical

SkinToSkin – an everyday event for all births 

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This SkinToSkin blog was written for no fee, to try to induce a SkinToSkin revolution amongst all birth-workers, for women and their newborns. Thank you for reading.

The contents are copyright © and the words belong to JennyTheM ©   

To see Jenny doing her thing on stage, see here.


Skin-to-skin care is an effective and safe intervention to reduce procedural pain in neonates – in the BMJ

Early skin-to-skin contact for mothers and their healthy newborn infants – Cochrane Library

Uninterrupted Skin-to-Skin Contact Immediately After Birth – Newborn & Infant Nursing