How skin-to-skin contact helps with breastfeeding

...and how a baby wrap or sling might help

When I had had my first baby, I struggled with breastfeeding. I went along to the breastfeeding groups and was told to do skin-to-skin contact. But as many times as I asked, I wasn't told why. (Turns out, they didn't know that bit.)

So my fellow mums, I thought I would explain this in more detail to you.

When your baby is placed on your skin, there are a few exchanges that occur. Hormonal, scental, antibodies, pheromones, that sort of thing. These exchanges tell your body lots about your babies body. Whether they are too hot, too cold, whether they are poorly. Your body then adapts and does what it can to help your babies body. 

skin to skin contact with newborn

Isn't the human body incredible?


So let me get into this a little further. 


When you and your baby are skin to skin, both of your bodies produce something called Oxytocin. This hormone is released when you do anything in the "family way" so when you're kissing, cuddling, having sex, birthing your baby, or breastfeeding. This hormone is released to aid reproductive functions, and one of these functions is the act of feeding your child. 


Your body also produces another hormone alongside oxytocin when you are skin-to-skin, called Prolactin. This particular hormone allows the production of breastmilk. So it stands to reason that the more skin to skin you have with your baby, the more oxytocin and prolactin is released into your body, the greater chance of breastfeeding success with your infant.

Its harder for your body to produce milk for a baby that they cant feel. This is also why when your baby is in an incubator you are encouraged to hold one of their vests to smell while you are expressing milk, they are hoping that the smell will produce the oxytocin and prolactin needed to help milk production.

How does a baby sling fit into this?

"But I can't just sit there all day doing skin to skin", I hear you say! Well, simple! Pop your baby in a baby wrap or baby sling. The best way to get pure, unadulterated skin to skin contact is to tie the wrap over your bare chest so you have nothing on underneath, and have baby in nothing but a nappy. Baby is safe, secure, and right where he wants to be, and you have your hands free to do what you need to do!

skin to skin contact with a newborn

There are other amazing benefits that occur via skin to skin contact and babywearing, which are all listed here in our guide called Benefits of Babywearing

And should you have any other question about baby wrap wearing, read our definitive guide to babywearing

There's my bite-size for the week, shout if you have any questions!