Skin to skin (aka kangaroo care) with your newborns is so important. Find out why in this post sponsored by our friends at Saplacor, creators of the AEGIS neonate wrap.
We sat down with Mary Chiesa, the AEGIS inventor, to get more details on the benefits of this practice, especially when you have twins.
What does skin to skin do?
Skin to skin, also known as kangaroo care, offers so many benefits to the whole family:
- Calms and relaxes both mother/father and baby
- Regulates the baby’s heart rate and breathing, helping them to better adapt to life outside the womb
- Stimulates digestion and an interest in feeding
- Regulates baby’s body temperature
- Enables colonisation of the baby’s skin with the mother’s friendly bacteria, thus providing protection against infection
- Stimulates the release of hormones to support breastfeeding and mothering
Additional benefits for babies in the NICU:
- Improves oxygen saturation
- Reduces cortisol (stress) levels, particularly following painful procedures
- Encourages pre-feeding behavior
- Assists with growth
- May reduce hospital stay
- If the mother expresses following a period of skin-to-skin contact, her milk volume will improve and the milk expressed will contain the most up-to-date antibodies
What will you need for twins? Find out here.
How do you do Kangaroo care with a newborn?
It’s pretty simple. Baby is placed naked (or in a diaper) on mom’s chest immediately after birth, so both mom and baby are chest to chest, with their skin touching. It’s just that simple. AEGIS wraps around mom and baby which allows mom to relax, knowing in her most vulnerable time that her baby is attached and won’t be dropped. This is an excellent source of bonding for all parents. Dads are encouraged to use the AEGIS to do skin to skin, too!
How do you do this with newborn twins?
Skin to skin with twins should be done the same way you would with a single baby. In fact, twins love to continue being close to one another where they can see, touch, and feel each other while maintaining a close connection to each other and mom/dad. This is what makes AEGIS priceless for new moms with twins.
New moms with twins often say they feel overwhelmed trying to hold both twins at the same time and not having any hands free. Thankfully, AEGIS allows the parent to maintain skin contact with the twins while staying hands-free. Studies show parents will practice Kangaroo care longer when they aren’t having to hold the baby the entire time.
Should I ask to do skin to skin in the NICU? How do I bring that up if the staff isn’t bringing it up first?
YES! Definitely ask to do this in the NICU. Don’t be shy. We know you have waited so long to meet them, hold them, touch them, and love on them. Just say, “I’m ready to hold my babies!” Any nurse will understand. Besides, many nurses are parents themselves.
Whether you are in a labor room, operating room, PACU, postpartum/recovery, or the NICU, it is always a great time to practice skin contact with your little one. After all, it promotes bonding and lifelong health benefits, both physiological and psychological.
Need help learning how to care for your twins? Take a Twiniversity class to prepare for your twins coming home.
Should my twins be doing this together in a crib or bassinet? Are there benefits to this?
Yes, your twins can do skin to skin together, as long as you are always supervising them closely. Twins tend to have a special bond and they will naturally want to hold each other and be close. Anytime they are touching chest to chest, they will both naturally release oxytocin, which offers multiple benefits.
How can I get my husband to do this?
You can get your husband to do this by making it easy. Let’s face it, men like simple, practical things. We love seeing so many partners more present. Plus, you will find if you take away the fear of dropping the baby by using an AEGIS wrap, both you and your partner will be more able to relax, maintaining continuous skin contact.
Studies show most dads don’t feel they get the chance to bond till months after the birth. It’s important to include your partner from the beginning. Its also important that baby is able to colonize with both parents to increase your babies’ chances of a healthy immune system.
Pregnant with twins and not sure where to start? Visit the Ultimate Twin Pregnancy Guide to find all the top articles and resources to get you ready for twins. While you’re at it, check out our expecting twin classes and Twiniversity shop!
Does Kangaroo care help with breastfeeding?
Yes, with your babies, it will increase oxytocin and prolactin, as both hormones aid in milk production and let down of your milk. Most importantly, when you release oxytocin in your body, this hormone promotes a parasympathetic dominance in your body. Why is this important? Because it greatly reduces your risk of postpartum depression.
How much skin to skin should I be doing? And how soon?
Start skin to skin immediately after birth, if possible. Throughout the neonate phase (the first 28 days), skin contact is so important. That’s why the AEGIS wrap was created; to ease the burden for new parents of continuously holding their new baby without the use of their arms/hands.
Worried about bonding with your twins? Read this article
Do you have to do skin to skin?
Doing this is totally optional, but there are many benefits to doing it. What most parents are unaware of is by maintaining continuous skin contact you are establishing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Your baby will grow up with better social skills, trust, confidence and overall well being.
Studies show babies who received skin to skin care throughout the neonate phase got a minimum of one grade higher in every subject opposed to babies held wrapped in blankets.
Can my baby overheat doing? What if I live in a hot climate?
Excellent question! In fact, babies are used to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit environments. It may surprise some moms to learn your baby can’t shiver until they are well over one year old. Babies under one year can’t maintain their own body temperature.
According to the WHO, AAP, and AWHONN, the best place to maintain baby’s body temperature is skin to skin with a parent. Other baby carrying devices only heat the outer layer, but skin contact will maintain optimal body temperature for baby throughout the core.
Something so incredible about a mom’s chest is that her breasts are able to change different temperatures depending on the need of each individual baby; this phenomenon is called Thermal Synchrony.
How can the Aegis wrap help me with skin to skin? And can I use it with twins?
AEGIS was designed specifically for new mothers in labor and delivery for postpartum recovery. We understand that most moms plan for the baby, pregnancy, baby room, birth plan, and so on, but we forget to plan for postpartum recovery and all the unknowns.
I spent 10 years working in Labor and Delivery. This means I understand what new, exhausted, medicated moms needed. It’s the practicality of mobility, reducing the fear, and optimizing all the physiological benefits for a safe, secure recovery. Whether you just delivered one, two, or three (or more) babies, we understand this can be extremely overwhelming.
This is why AEGIS was designed to give you the confidence and support both you and your baby need to get through this important trimester (the fourth and final trimester.) Moms can do anything if you give them the right tools to do it. The biggest fear both mom and dad said they had was they were afraid of dropping their baby. AEGIS removes the fear and hugs you tight. You got this!
How long should I do it?
There isn’t a right or wrong answer for how long you should do this kind of Kangaroo care. Do as much or as little as you want for as long as you want. You can continue doing skin to skin with your babies throughout the first year if it’s enjoyable to all of you. However, it is most beneficial to do it in the neonate phase (the first month of life).
Can my baby sleep during this?
If your baby falls asleep during Kangaroo care, we recommend transferring them to their crib or bassinet. You run the risk of falling asleep yourself and that’s not safe for baby, as they can fall off on to the floor, or you run the risk of smothering them.
That is why the AEGIS is such a great product — you don’t have to worry about dropping your babies when they are in the wrap if you accidentally fall asleep while doing it. After all, we are only human!
COUPON CODE ALERT! Use the code NEWMOM20 for 20% off your order of the Saplacor AEGIS neonate wrap. The AEGIS is a safe hands-free skin-to-skin wrap suitable for newborns 4 to 14 pounds, helping reduce the risk of accidental infant falls. Quick access side locking zipper with eye hooks on the top and bottom for added safety and size customization. Click here to buy
The Saplacor AEGIS Birth Story
Mary Chiesa is just like all the other moms out there. Her life experiences and outside the box thinking led her to where she is today. She saw a problem and simply wanted to create a solution. She recognized that maternity is the ONLY floor in the hospital where a patient is expected to care for another patient. This led her to create the AEGIS, a neonate medical wrap designed for hospitals to empower all moms.
Mary set out to create a safer, more secure postpartum recovery for both mom and baby. She established new guidelines and protocols to ensure all babies are secured to mom with an AEGIS wrap during a C-section to reduce the risk of negligence and discrimination by hospitals. After all, you only get one chance to welcome your baby into the world; don’t risk the one thing you can’t replace. Welcome your twins safely with an AEGIS wrap.
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Saplacor Aegis features
- made of seamless four-way stretch nylon and elastin
- interwoven with X-Static silver thread for thermal, antimicrobial, and anti-odor protection
- tube top style device securely holds baby in a frog leg position against an adult chest
- A side locking zipper access allows for tube, line, and monitor access for mother and baby while a shoulder sling allows for mobile support
- Available in 5 adjustable sizes (up to 52 inch chest) to accommodate a range of adult body types and is designed to hold infants from four to 14 pounds (1.8 to 6.3 kilograms)
- Can be used with twins up to a combined weight of 14 pounds (6.3 kg)
- Can be worn by women and men
The Saplacor AEGIS is the only FDA regulated neonate wrap on the market, which means it can be brought into the operating room. Named after the Greek myth around the protective shield of Zeus and Athena, the Saplacor Aegis underwent significant testing before receiving designation as an FDA-approved general wellness device.
AEGIS enhances safety and reduces the risk of:
- SUPC (Sudden Unexpected Postnatal Collapse)
- Cold Stress / Hypothermia
- Postpartum Depression
AEGIS improves Best Practices:
- Infection Prevention
- Safe sleep
- Skin to skin
- Hands free babywearing
- Heightened mobility
- Zero separation
For parents expecting twins, we recommend purchasing two AEGIS, one for each parent, as they come in 5 different sizes up to a 52-inch chest. Make sure to take advantage of the 20% off discount with the code NEWMOM20 when you buy here.
Our new digital twin pregnancy journal is up for sale on the Twiniversity Etsy store! This is the first and only digital journal exclusively for twin pregnancy. It’s the perfect way to record your precious twin pregnancy memories to cherish for years to come. Click here to learn more… and while you’re at it, check out our expecting twins classes and Twiniversity Shop!