How amazing it is that skin to skin contact is now being practised routinely after C-sections in US hospitals! Sourced on REDDIT.

How amazing it is that skin to skin contact is now being practised routinely after C-sections in US hospitals! Sourced on REDDIT.

Whilst people on Reddit debate the absurdity of an insurance based system all we're seeing is the brilliance of a system that encourages skin to skin contact immediately after a birth in all situations, no matter what it takes (in this case an extra neonatal nurse for 30mins).

 Reddit user Halfthrottle shared their itemised bill saying

'I had to pay $39.35 to hold my baby after he was born'.Reddit - I had to pay to hold my baby

(click on photo to see original post on Reddit)

For all that the NHS is wonderful and costs us nothing more than our taxes, we can't claim that Skin to Skin Contact with all it's amazing benefits is being routinely offered to mums in the U.K., either immediately after they've given birth or as standard in the first 3 months. Some trusts are way ahead of others but why isn't the whole country adopting this hugely beneficial practice?

Babies who receive skin to skin contact are more likely to breastfeed (Cochrane review 2012) which carries protective and development benefits of its own.  Babies who are unwell or premature at birth do better when they are given skin to skin contact on a daily basis.  In many cases babies are discharged from hospital sooner than those who do not get this care as highlighted in the 2003 research published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioural Paediatrics.

In the UK the daily cost of care for a baby in a NICU is around £1500.  Each year there are almost 50,000 premature births so if each baby was discharged one day early because skin to skin contact had assisted them in being ready for home it would save NHS over £75,000,000.

Long term benefits of skin to skin contact  for all babies include stronger immunity, well developed cognitive function, healthy attachment to care-givers and reduced symptoms of PND in mums.

The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative highlights the benefits and regards Kangaroo Care as a key element in achieving the Baby Friendly Standard.  Bliss also has a neonoatal care award which seeks to recognise best practice including skin to skin contact.   Stepping Hill NICU, who use Vija Design products, have recently received the prestigious 'Improving Care' award from Bliss. 

Imagine the benefits for everyone if UK hospitals make skin to skin contact a central part of newborn care for all babies?  We'd love to hear your thoughts on how skin to skin contact was facilitated after your baby's birth?

Nicole Hastie

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