The ability of establishing a human relation with another person is always with hand shaking so that we start to feel the close relation. In addition to this, we hug each other in sorrow and happiness offering the needed comfort or congratulation. Hence, the touch can be so powerful and thus an integral part of our human relations.
The need for touch is highly developed in babies and they know it even before they are being born. Most hospitals practice the skin-to-skin touch with the mother once the baby is delivered so that the bond gets quickly established.
Newborn babies need the touch so that they can develop nicely as that is their way of learning the world that surrounds them and thus establishing a special bond with their caregivers.
A child needs to feel the touch and in that way develop cognitive skills, physical abilities, language and social skills.
SSC – skin-to-skin contact is vital for premature babies
The common practice for premature babies is to continue their development in an incubator. However, a new approach was introduced in Scandinavia and that is the skin-to-skin contact with the premature babies. In this part of Europe, skin-to-skin contact is commonly recommended as an alternative for exclusive incubation of premature babies. Medical experts believe that the human touch can be very valuable in the quick recovery of these babies. They should not be left in complete isolation in incubators, but experience the human touch on daily basis as it is natural for them.
A young Danish family was blessed with twins who were born premature, and the doctors recommended the skin-to-skin method. These twins had an older sibling, a brother who helped his father to give skin-to-skin contact to his premature twin siblings. This moment was photographically captured and seen by many people who could not resist watching the heart-warming picture. This family established their special bond with their twins, a bond that for sure will last forever.
This picture became viral, firstly posted by a Danish family advocacy organization ForældreogFødsel on Facebook. It was taken in 2016 at the Hvidovre Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, and caused such popularity when the caption was translated to English and uploaded by the South Africa-based NINO Birth Organization. NINO stands for Neuroscience for Improved Neonatal Outcomes.
Here it is the caption:
“Skin-to-skin contact is not ‘new’, but Sweden certainly leads the way in making this care family-friendly, even for very tiny babies. I love this picture of big brother helping his dad care for the twins!”
The NINO page says the following:
“How your baby is born matters!!
Putting your newborn baby skin-to-skin on your chest-at birth makes all the difference between feeling safe or unsafe. Mother’s chest is the SAFE place. Here baby is warmed, and heart and lungs work best. The baby can find the breast and latch on. From the breast, the baby will make eye contact with mum.
This starts bonding, even in the first hour of life. From here parenting comes naturally and is fun. This is important for caesareans also, and even more for fragile premature babies. This is so different to what often happens.
Without you, your baby is stressed and anxious. The stress will make baby’s body unstable. The anxiety prevents trust and love from forming. Can a tiny newborn feel anxious and abandoned? Very much so! It is the difference that we focus on.”
In Sweden SSC is highly encouraged even for premature babies weighing 700grams.
The well-known Swedish Professor Uwe Ewald is an advocate for skin-to-skin contact recommending it even when the premature babies are very small. He believes that these babies need to be taken out regularly from the incubator and receive skin-to-skin contact. He was in the Hvidovre Hospital when the twins were delivered and recommended this exact practice to the young family.
The caregiver is topless when the baby is being cleaned, dried, and wrapped in a nappy. After one hour, the baby is fed and put back in its incubator.
This renowned doctor maintains that the skin-to-skin contact warms the baby more than an incubator. Plus, it protects the baby from serious infections by transmitting protective “good’ bacteria into its body system.
In the Facebook post is written:
“Uwe Ewald points out that the parent’s chest regulates the temperature better than an incubator. Skin to skin contact helps the baby to breathe better. The child becomes calmer and gains weight faster. Research shows that parent’s bacterial flora — compared with hospital bacteria — reduces the risk of serious infections in these delicate children.”
As we mentioned before the photo went viral and the released post was liked by more than 35K people, and hundreds of them commented. Most of the people agreed that this practice would be a great method for better development of premature babies.
Scroll down and check some of the comments:
Malin N. wrote:
“15 years ago in Sweden my very sick, tiny, heartsick baby spent most of her time on my husband’s chest. Not sure if she would make it, we treasured every minute she was brought out of the incubator. Today she is a healthy beautiful young lady. ”
Shelly F. continued:
“This is amazing. My baby was prem and born at 4 pounds 7 ounces and I wasn’t allowed to hold him most of the time, I was only ever offered skin to skin twice and he was in care for 26 days. I wasn’t allowed to stay with him. The most stressful time of my life but baby is ok and healthy. It’s a shame Australia isn’t on board with this…”
Emily Ann added:
“I couldn’t hold my twins until one week after they were born. Our skin to skin contact was so bittersweet and will definitely never be forgotten.”
“All of my older kids had to take a turn with the new baby inside their t-shirts as he was so fractious (not a babba anymore)… It settled him. The more ‘new’ trends I see emerging make me proud that I have been doing things right for years… Trust your instincts… Lovely pic.”
“I love this and wish this could have been happening where I live when my daughter was born. I cried looking at her in that machine.”
However, this practice can be applied only when the doctors recommend it as sometimes the premature babies can be so fragile and there is a risk of taking them out of the incubator.
In areas where incubators are unavailable or unreliable this practice was applied and referred to as the “kangaroo care”. So, it is nothing new, but very effective for the development of our precious babies.