Why Step 4?
All mothers and babies should be supported to receive immediate, continuous and safe skin-to-skin care, regardless of feeding method.
The benefits of skin-to-skin contact includes:
- Early establishment of effective breastfeeding
- Longer duration of breastfeeding
- Increased exclusive breastfeeding
- Increased interaction and bonding between the mother and her infant
- Infant physiologic regulation (e.g. state organization, cardio-respiratory functioning, temperature, blood glucose, etc.)
- Improved infant health outcomes.
Skin-to-skin after Cesarean birth offers benefits to families by reducing the need to transfer of infants to the NICU for observation. Babies should be placed skin-to-skin with the mother as soon as she is alert and able to safely respond to her baby. Should skin-to-skin contact be interrupted for any reason, it should be resumed as soon as possible. Skin-to-skin contact should be encouraged throughout the hospital stay and post-discharge.
Primary Goals of Step 4
- Ensure that babies are in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers for at least one hour immediately following birth.
- Help mothers recognize when their babies are ready to breastfeed and offer help, if needed.
- Ensure staff observation and implementation of safe skin-to-skin practice with proper education of families.
Ten Step Self-Assessment
Use the Ten Step Self-Assessment to help you evaluate your progress for this step. This self- assessment document does not have to be submitted with application.
- Review your individual Ten Step Scorecard from the last designation for change recommendations.
- Use the Ten Step Self-Assessment Tool to help plan for step-by-step improvement in any areas needed.
- Review the Baby Friendly USA, Inc. Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria to view full standard for this step.
Susan Ludington, Safe SSC Technique
An informative website on safe skin-to-skin and kangaroo care for professionals.
Breastfeeding campaign that includes SSC patient education resources.
USLCA/ILCA - IBCLC Staffing Statement (PDF)
Provides guidance on staffing IBCLCs in your labor and delivery unit.
Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, U.K.
Neuroscience for Improved Neonatal Outcomes (NINO)
Feldman-Winter L. Safe Sleep and Skin-to-Skin Care in the Neonatal Period for Healthy Term Newborns. Committee on Fetus and Newborn, Task force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Pediatrics. 2016 Sep;138(3). pii: e20161889. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2016-1889. Epub