We’ve all heard how great skin-to-skin contact is for infant development and bonding. And it’s very easy (and convenient) to do it in the hospital immediately after the baby is born. But once we head home and life gets crazy, it can be harder to remember. So we asked experts and our own Scouts for some ideas, and found ten simple ways to increase the touch factor throughout the day.
1. Wear a tank top or sports bra and dress your baby in just a diaper, then put the baby in a carrier or sling, and wear her around the house.
2. Take a few minutes after your shower to sit skin-to-skin in a rocker or glider.
3. Get into the bath with your baby, or sneak in some skin-to-skin snuggles post-bath, when you wrap him in the towel.
4. “Spend time massaging baby (with your favorite baby lotion) after bath time,” says Diane Truong, MD, FAAP, co-founder and CEO of MD Moms. “Infant massage benefits baby psychologically, physiologically and developmentally. Not only does it create a bonding moment for both of you, but it actually triggers baby’s central nervous system to release hormones that calm and reduce stress (meaning more relaxation and, potentially, better sleep).”
5. Play footsie with your baby. In bed. On the floor. At mealtime.
6. “While he’s watching football, ask Dad to sit on the couch in a button down shirt, slightly opened, and have him hold the bare-chested baby against his chest,” says Lauren Chaitoff, co-owner of Yogi Beans.
7. “While breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, strip your baby down to his diaper and feed without a top on,” says Helen Moon, author of Cherish the First 6 Weeks. “Your baby will get enough warmth from your body and will love this close time together.”
8. Use yourself as a tummy time mat, Moon suggests. “Lie on the bed without your top on and let your baby lie on top of you, while she is just wearing a diaper. It’s a fun interactive activity that helps strengthen your baby’s neck while providing skin-to-skin time.”
9. Play a tickle game—treat your little one to gentle tickles on different body parts while naming which part you are touching (arms, legs, nose, cheeks, belly, etc.).
10. When your baby is in his high chair, sit down with him and hold his hands as you help him eat.