Did you know that skin-to-skin holding benefits fathers too?
In a 2019 research study, Huang and associates studied the effects of paternal skin-to-skin contact on term infants and their fathers after cesarean delivery. A total of 100 infants born via cesarean section and their fathers were studied. The newborns were randomly assigned to 2 groups (n = 50 each). Newborns in the treatment group received skin-to-skin care from their fathers immediately after scheduled cesarean birth, in contrast to those in the control group who received routine transitional care, and placement in a crib, after scheduled cesarean birth. After the initial period of skin-to-skin with the father, each infant was then placed skin-to-skin with the mother, following completion of the cesarean surgery. Results showed that newborns in the treatment group had a more stable heart rate, reduced crying, and earlier feeding behaviors than those in the control group. Researchers also noted a statistical significance in the duration of breastfeeding after skin-to-skin in the treatment group as compared to the control group (p < .05). Fathers in the treatment group reported lower levels of anxiety and depression and better bonding and attachment than those in the control group.
Skin to skin following birth plays an important role in helping babies transition to the extrauterine environment. A large number of term and preterm babies miss out on the initial skin-to-skin time with mom, due to maternal or neonatal medical issues. Research supports the importance of paternal skin-to-skin as well. We can help you bridge this gap, and improve and increase skin-to-skin holding in your unit through our educational opportunities! Let us help you increase the paternal bond, decreased anxiety and depression, and improve the overall well-being of the infant and family! Learn more about our customized education for your unit, the Neonatal Touch & Massage Certification, and skin-to-skin educational DVDs for parents and caregivers here.