Skin-to-skin contact and the effects it has on breastfeeding success
Immediate skin-to-skin contact has been shown to provide many health benefits for mothers and their newborns, including increased breastfeeding success. Prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding in the world is currently only 37%, with few hospitals adopting measures to improve skin-to-skin contact (Agudelo et al, 2021). One major factor in determining the success of breastfeeding is providing skin-to-skin contact (SSC) with the mother as soon as possible following birth. There are numerous benefits of breastfeeding for both the newborn and the mother. For the newborn, breastmilk provides antibodies from the mother to help protect it from illness. It also lowers rates of infant mortality and morbidities. Breastfed babies are generally healthier throughout their lives and have less risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer or diabetes. Breastfeeding also has many benefits for the mother as well, these include improved mental and physical health in the postpartum period, and lifelong health benefits such as lower risk of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (Cleveland Clinic, 2017). The impact of SSC on breastfeeding is not something that has been studied extensively in the past, therefore, few hospitals have adopted immediate SSC. The purpose of this research article is to determine if immediate skin to skin contact compared to early (but delayed) skin to skin contact, impacts the ability to breastfeed successfully in full term neonates. The independent variable being the skin-to-skin contact, the dependent variable being breastfeeding success.