Skin-to-Skin Contact May Help Moms Fight Postpartum Depression

Photo: Cinnamon Chic / The Bump Photo: Cinnamon Chic / The Bump

Baby’s birth involves a few hundred — no, thousand — feelings for mom! You’re in love, all over again, with a tiny baby you’ve been growing inside of you; you’re nervous; you’re suddenly aware that life is just more than sleeping in on Saturdays and a good manicure. But for some moms, baby’s birth also brings with it tons of feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness.

Moms who experience the baby blues aren’t alone. So many other mothers are experiencing it too, and studies show that that postpartum depression in mothers six weeks after delivery is on the rise.  According to the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological, and Neonatal Nursing, skin-to-skin contact between baby and mother may be an alternative therapy moms (who wish to avoid taking medication) can try.

During the study, researchers found that moms who provided six hours of skin-to-skin contact in the first week, followed by at least two hours over the course of the next month, reported fewer symptoms of depression. Saliva samples taken from these mothers also recorded lower cortisol levels than mother who did not have skin-to-skin contact with baby.

Another relevant study by the journal Pediatrics found that skin-to-skin contact for even three hours a day reduced infant crying by 43%. The surprising percentage significantly reduces stress for a first time or new mom who is unsure of the best ways to soothe baby.

But the benefits aren’t just for mama –for baby, skin-to-skin contact can help satisfy the need for human contact, as well as promotes body between the infant and mother. Skin-to-skin also release oxytocin in mom, which helps mom and infant attachment and increases the feeling of well-being and relaxation.

Did you experience the baby blues after birth?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Tips for Avoiding Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression Treatments?

10 Biggest New Mom Surprises (and How to Deal)