How can mom and baby get in the much-needed skin-to-skin contact without shivering or bumping up the heating bill? Here are four tips to staying warm while staying skin-to-skin with your baby.
Brrr! The latest Arctic blast has hit the area, and our daytime high temperatures plunged to 2 degrees with -35 degree wind chills. Inside, I’m all the more grateful for sweaters and blankets and electric foot heaters to keep warm without resorting to bumping up the furnace thermostat. For how easy it is to warm up a house by adjusting the thermostat just a few degrees, it’s harder to stomach the bill a month later!
But the temptation sure is there, especially when your breastfeeding specialist is recommending ample skin-to-skin contact with your latch-refusing newborn. Skin-to-skin contact requires undressing baby to the diaper and placing baby on your unclothed chest, usually while you’re reclining.
This time of the year, the breastfeeding mothers I’m supporting usually aren’t keen to invite the chill of the air in order to do skin-to-skin, despite the wonders it can do to encourage a good latch and milk supply, and most of the mothers I support don’t have any extra money to pay for a higher heating bill anyway. So how can they get in the much-needed skin-to-skin contact without shivering through or bumping up their heating bill?
Here are four tips to staying warm while staying skin-to-skin with your baby:
- Skin-to-skin with a blanket or cap: Put a blanket over you and baby to keep in your body heat. Your body temperature will automatically adjust to what baby needs to stay warm but not too warm. It’s important to keep baby’s face clear and to not have the blanket wrapped around baby so that blanket is between you and baby. The point of skin-to-skin is to maximize contact between baby’s skin and your skin. If the room seems chilly, have baby wear a cap, too. And you can wear layers, so your arms stay covered while your chest is bare under baby.
- Skin-to-skin while bedsharing: You can do skin-to-skin while cosleeping, too. When I did this, I wore a long-sleeved, button-up shirt with the buttons undone and the edges of the shirt tucked out of baby’s way, so my arms stayed warm but my chest was still available for skin-to-skin contact. Baby wore a cap and I was covered with a blanket from my waist down, with a light blanket around baby, but not between us, keeping baby’s face clear. However you decide the best way to do this, it’s important to combine safe skin-to-skin contact guidelines with safe bedsharing guidelines, and some babies — like preemies or babies who aren’t exclusively breastfed — should be monitored by someone awake if mom falls asleep while doing skin-to-skin contact in bed.
- Take a bath together: There’s nothing wrong with taking a bath with baby. In fact, it’s a great way to do skin-to-skin and stay warm. Many moms have reported that their baby who just would not latch finally did once they shared a bath.
- Skin-to-skin while babywearing: There are certain wraps that work to keep baby skin-to-skin, and some designs come with long sleeves! Basically, it looks like you’re wearing a shirt with a baby inside. These skin-to-skin wraps are not designed to be baby carriers, though they may give you a more ability to move around than doing the traditional reclined position.