We know that a lot of parents who have children through traditional means bond with their baby before it is even born through speaking to it, listening to music, and sharing an in-utero connection. Because Intended Parents going through surrogacy are not able to do this in the same way, it’s easy for them to feel disconnected from their child.
However, we all find deep and profound connections throughout our lives, and forming one with your child is guaranteed. If you want to increase your confidence in this skin-to-skin contact is the way to go. While providing you confidence, skin-to-skin contact also helps a baby feel safe and provides long-term benefits to their physical and mental health.
Please keep in mind families built by surrogacy love each other just as much as those that used traditional means. Your child will love you regardless, but this is a way to feel an immediate connection if you wanted to make up for the in-utero experience.
What is Skin-to-skin Contact?
Put simply, skin-to-skin contact is coming in contact for a prolonged time frame with your child without the barriers of clothing. It’s well-regarded that the most important time for skin-to-skin contact is right after childbirth, but practicing it as your child grows is a great way to continue to foster that bond.
Skin-to-skin contact helps form bonds quickly and deeply. We also use this form of contact to feel connected to our partners or friends. This bonding time can make a big difference in how close you feel to the people in your life. When people come in contact skin-to-skin it is a marker of trust and comfort. With your newborn, it’s the same.
How Does Skin-To-Skin Help the Baby?
For infants, skin-to-skin contact establishes a deeper bond with the people in their lives. As newborns, they require extra love and attention to foster their health and well-being. This is why it’s so important to start skin-to-skin early.
Many studies have been done about the benefits of skin-to-skin for babies’ mental and physical health. Even with just a few moments of contact, most babies experience reduced pain symptoms and stress in circumstances like receiving a vaccination or cutting the cord while having skin-to-skin contact with a trusted source.
Physically, babies tend to be healthier when they are exposed to skin-to-skin contact from their parents. If they experienced it in the first few moments after their birth, the results are astronomical. These children had improved thermoregulation, cardiopulmonary stabilization, blood glucose levels, improved oxygen saturation levels, and slept and breathed easier than babies who were not.
Psychologically, babies who have regular skin-to-skin contact tend to sleep easier and faster (especially when having skin-to-skin), experience less separation anxiety, and have improved brain development.
There are so many benefits to giving your child prolonged skin-to-skin, and they have been observed by scientists. The best thing you can do is hold your child close for an hour or longer.
How Does Skin-To-Skin Help Parents?
Many Intended Parents, especially new moms, report feeling disconnected from their child. This is a standard of post-partum even for people who carried their child to term. However, your feelings post-birth do not indicate whether you’ve actually connected with your child.
Like any relationship, prolonged exposure makes people feel safe, connected, and loved. By setting time aside to specifically do skin-to-skin contact with your child you can build a bond that will help you feel connected and push through the feeling of insecurity.
Having skin-to-skin contact with your newborn right after the birth also assists the surrogate in their emotional transfer of the baby to you. They will be moving their belly buddy onto the parents, and seeing you with the child can help them feel fulfilled.
People who do skin-to-skin with their newborn, in addition to the positive effects for the baby, also experience greater connection and confidence in their bond.
How Do I Do Skin-To-Skin Contact?
To do skin-to-skin contact with a newborn, you will need an easily opened or removed shirt. Skin-to-skin at its initial phase is recommended for as long as possible, even while the baby is being cleaned. If everyone is comfortable with it, it is sometimes recommended that the baby come in contact skin-to-skin with the surrogate for a brief period so that they can adapt to their bacteria and have a lower risk of allergies or illness.
When the baby has arrived simply place them on your chest and rest together for as long as possible. This is your chance to feel your new child and really revel in the new addition to your family and the biggest change in your life.
Skin-to-skin contact is an incredibly important part of any bond between parent and child, regardless of their birth circumstances. The benefits it provides to babies are astronomical and the confidence it imbues in the parent is incredible.
No matter how you choose to bond with your child, the connection will be there. Even if you feel some sort of uncertainty about whether the child will recognize you the truth is that you will be the parent they have always had and will always have. Your bond is there, regardless of who gave birth.
For more information on becoming an Intended Parent, please reach out to us here.
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