Skin to skin & the ‘love hormone’

We know skin to skin is always recommended by health workers and midwives, especially if you have had your baby in the hospital you may have noticed posters everywhere in the maternity ward reminding you of this.

The main reason is because it comforts and calms baby, reassures them you are there which is important as they transition from the womb to the world!

Skin to skin contact releases a hormone called oxytocin which is known as the ‘love’ hormone. When oxytocin is released it creates a lovely feeling of happiness and has a very soothing effect.

During baby massage the parent giving the massage also releases oxytocin as well as in baby.

Studies have shown it helps new mums that are suffering with PND and helps with boosting milk supply if you are breastfeeding, which just goes to show how powerful it is.

Massaging the skin also helps to get rid of any dead skin cells and using strokes from an ‘Indian milking’ technique removes toxins in the body.

5 mindset adjustments to help adjust to life with a newborn:

1. Firstly, let go of any expectations! Good or bad! The reality of becoming first time parents is like an explosion of change. Everything changes all at once! Allow yourself and your relationship time to adjust, keep an open mind as everything will feel different for a while as you all learn to grow together.

2. Realise your baby is your teacher. When a baby is born, a mum and a dad are born too! You are all new here, all learning your new roles together. Let your baby guide you and trust your instincts.

3. Share the load! ‘It takes a village’ …we aren’t built to raise a child alone. Take some help when offered and if your partner is available to take on some of the tasks then allow them to do so. Try to avoid feeling like you need to do it all as you try to meet your own expectations. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

4. Think of each moment in time as a phase and repeat to yourself ‘this too shall pass’. This is especially helpful if your baby is going through a developmental change and things can seem overwhelming at times. Babies go through phases as they experience their growth spurts and hit milestones. Anything from sleepless nights, excessive crying (often described as colic), separation anxiety and more. There really is light at the end of the tunnel! Everything will get better and you won’t experience the overwhelm forever.

5. You are the best parent for your baby. If you find yourself wondering ‘am I doing this properly’ ‘am I enough’ the answer is yes – you are trying your best and becoming a parent is a tough gig! Hands down the best experience of your life, completely life affirming and an incredible journey – it will certainly be an emotional rollercoaster!

So enjoy the ride…sending lots of love to all you new mamas and I hope you are having lots of lovely baby snuggles! Get that oxytocin flowing!

Ps…did you know? – baby massage is recommended to new parents experiencing post natal depression, as the release of oxytocin creates a chemical change in your body making you feel happier, relaxed and connected. The act of baby massage and baby yoga can also help build your confidence in how to handle your baby and creates a unique bonding platform.