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By now, we all know the major benefits to skin-to-skin contact has for newborns, but a new study reveals that the close snuggling has some major postpartum benefits for Mom as well. Ultimately, researchers found that moms who held their babies "kangaroo style" (skin-to-skin, inside their shirt,) had majorly reduced maternal stress levels.
The study was conducted in a major metropolitan NICU; according to neonatologist Natalia Isaza of Children's National Health System in Washington, D.C., "We found that all of the mothers reported an objective decrease in their stress level after skin-to-skin contact with their babies." Most of the babies of the moms weighed between one to eight pounds and were in the NICU for a variety of health issues—all things that would increase the already stressful experience of becoming a new mom. NICU moms are also often separated from their babies, which can increase their anxiety and feelings of helplessness.
Isaza continues, "Now we have more evidence that skin-to-skin contact can also decrease parental stress that can interfere with bonding, health and emotional wellness, and the interpersonal relations of parents, as well as breastfeeding rates." The researchers conclude that hopefully in light of this new evidence, this will be a practice adopted in even more NICUs around the world.