Firstly I would like to thank you for visiting our site, and really hope you stick around and hear our story and long term mission to better lives.
Don't forget to check out our Products page and see our beautiful dresses that promote mom to baby skin to skin hospital to home :)
As our first blog post, I find it fitting to tell a bit of background (about our journey and more on what really is skin to skin anyways)...here goes:
Just 1 year ago I was submitted to the hospital because our baby decided to come 4 weeks early. We were forced to confront the fact that our daughter was going to be born premature. Medical decisions needed to be made but my nerves were oddly calm when sleeping overnight in the hospital waiting to see if my labor would begin. According to the WHO:
Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation), and this number is rising.
Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age, responsible for nearly 1 million deaths in 2015.
According to a leading expert: if mothers carried babies skin-to-skin, this simple act could significantly cut global death and disability rates from premature birth, Prof Joy Lawn says "kangaroo care” or “skin to skin”, not expensive intensive care, is the key:
"The perception is you need intensive care for pre-term babies, but 85% of babies born premature are six weeks early or less. They need help feeding, with temperature control and they are more prone to infection.”
"It's really only before 32 weeks that their lungs are immature and they need help breathing. Unless there are those breathing problems, kangaroo care is actually better because it promotes breastfeeding and reduces infection.”
I wish someone had told this to us...
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who leads the Every Woman Every Child movement, which promotes improvements to healthcare for women and children, said:
"Three-quarters of the one million babies who die each year from complications associated with prematurity could have been saved with cost-effective interventions, even without intensive care facilities.”
Duncan Wilbur, from the UK charity Bliss, said:
"While kangaroo care saves lives in Africa, it is also incredibly important for babies born too soon all over the world.”
In the UK medical technology is extremely advanced but simply giving a baby kangaroo care or skin-to-skin can help make a baby's breathing and heart rate more regular, it can help a baby's discomfort during certain medical procedures and importantly can benefit breastfeeding and bonding between the baby and parents.
Despite skin to skin contact being the normal in an evolutionary perspective, separating a newborn from the mother soon after birth has now become common practice in many industrialized societies. Delivery room and postpartum hospital routine may significantly disrupt early maternal-infant interactions.
In evolutionary history, neonatal survival depended on close and virtually continual maternal contact, but unique to the 20th century it has become routine to separate baby and mom shortly after birth. (Moore, Anderson, Bergman, 2007).
Science has shown that the process of skin to skin - mother and baby holding each other against each others' skin after birth has remarkable positive affects (especially on preterm babies), that can even mimic and in many ways out perform the use of a machinery. Skin to skin contact through touch, warmth, and odor is a strong stimulant, which among other effects:
releases maternal oxytocin
- skin temperature of the mother rises
decreases maternal anxiety
increases calmness and social responsiveness.
Release of oxytocin may also enhance parenting behaviors.
increased sense of mastery
increased confidence which are relevant outcomes because they predict breastfeeding duration.
and even long term effects 20 years down the road in this study indicated:
Parents who conducted skin to skin were more protective and nurturing, reflected by reduced school absenteeism and reduced hyperactivity, aggressiveness, externalization, and socio-deviant conduct of young adults.
Luckily for us, our baby girl decided to come just the next day and once labor began we were in and out of the delivery room in just 1 hour. Smooth sailing. Our baby girl was born healthy. We had an all natural labor, which I was so excited and proud to have succeeded. I couldn't have done it without a great midwife, nurse and husband by my side. We felt blessed.
Unfortunately, where our medical system failed us, was to inform and instruct us on the importance of holding our baby skin to skin after birth. This was especially important because our baby was one of the millions of babies born preterm.
"As a new and clueless mother watching my daughter wrapped in blankets laying beside me under a heat lamp waiting for doctors to come in and out of the room to check on her, I felt helpless." CEO, Owner BS2S
So if we were lucky enough to be in one of best and modern hospital in our country, then why did I feel so helpless?
Why has separation of mothers from their babies at birth become standard practice, despite mounting evidence that this may have harmful effects?
This is my story, which even 1 year later has me wondering, passionate about and thinking how to help other mothers and fathers feel less helpless and bond with their babies by performing skin to skin.
I had poor to no help in the hospital about the benefits of skin to skin, or how to just hold my baby to help regulate her temperature, or learn how to breastfeed a premature baby. Little did I know, that breastfeeding a premature baby is very well possible, unlike was hinted to me, and holding our baby skin to skin has so many benefits.
After conducting interviews with other mothers, I confirmed the following:
Many other mothers did not get supervised instruction and time to bond with their baby in skin to skin.
Some of my interviewees had their, whats called “golden hour” (time when the baby is on the chest immediately after birth), but most had their baby whisked away sooner to be cleaned and conduct tests (some that could wait!)
Some if they did complete the hour, had their baby taken to be cleaned and examined and then the baby was later wrapped up in blankets and put in a cot to lie next to the mother. (This process is even more prevalent in premature babies because many families are taken to the NICU to be under special care and like in my case, the benefits of continued skin to skin, especially for preemies was never mentioned.)
Most mothers, including myself, when looking back, wished for more time skin to skin
Only 2 mothers had done skin to skin after birth and at home, they had researched it themselves before and their hospital promoted it
Problem: as a global solution that could help cut medical costs, “skin to skin” or “kangaroo care” is rarely conducted
In my research I found the problem in medical systems failing to mention, emphasize and show how to perform skin to skin after birth and at home. This is where I would like to help bridge the gap!
I mean why would we do something free and natural if there are fancy machines to show off?
I hope this first blog post has shed some light on our initiative and our story. Please subscribe to our page and follow us on social media to keep up with our updates.
Lots and lots of love!