Bonding with Your Baby

Find your care

If you are a new patient seeking prenatal care, please call 310-794-7274. If you are an established patient and need to reach labor and delivery, call 310-825-9111 for Westwood or 424-259-9250 for Santa Monica.

Hug me, I’m yours!

After delivery, your nurse, doctor, or midwife will place your baby skin to skin on your chest. During the first two hours after birth, babies are alert and awake. This is a special time that allows you and your baby to get to know each other and promotes breastfeeding. Your baby will adjust to the new world quicker when held skin to skin. Skin to skin contact promotes bonding and better brain development.

Woman breastfeeding her child

Babies that are skin to skin get to:

  • See you: Newborns can see 8-12 inches which is the same distance from the baby to mother’s face when being breastfed
  • Smell you: Newborns have a strong sense of smell after delivery. The smell of your breasts reminds them of the smell of amniotic fluid they have been swimming around in during pregnancy and makes them feel at home with you.
  • Hear you: Your baby recognizes the sound of your voice. When their head is on your chest, they hear your heart beating and the vibrations of your voice just as they did when you were pregnant.
  • Feel you: Newborns like to be close to you. Your skin is warm and helps your baby to stay calm and comforted while learning about this new world.
  • Breastfeed: Newborns breastfeed better when held skin to skin.

Keep me Close!

  • Get to know your baby and let your baby get to know you by rooming in. By keeping your baby near you, you quickly learn when your baby needs to be fed. This is important even at night. Babies should be fed whenever they show signs of hunger (feeding cues).
  • The benefits of skin to skin contact continue in the postpartum room. Skin to skin is a good way to calm your crying baby or even wake a sleeping baby. Skin to skin can help a baby regulate its temperature and keep blood sugar levels up.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. At six months, continue breastfeeding while introducing solid foods as complementary foods. Continue breastfeeding until one year of life or as long as mother and child mutually agree.


Join our Mother/Baby Support Group!

Wednesdays 1:30-2:30 pm
200 Medical Plaza, Room 206

Santa Monica
Thursdays 12-1:00 pm
Online new parents' support group every Thursday at noon.