Why does Birth KMC work? SKIN-TO-SKIN CONTACT!
Regulation: The baby at birth is wide awake for the first 60-90 minutes and expecting certain sensations. He hears mum’s familiar voice, heartbeat , the smell of mum and breastmilk is familiar too. The baby feels SAFE and so his body calms down. Heart rate, breathing and oxygen saturation, blood pressure and temperature all stabilize far faster on mum than when they are separated. Baby has his basic needs for warmth, food and protection met.
Bonding and attachment: Baby’s brain is also calms, and all of the expected sensations are collected and fire pathways in the brain. The baby will feel safe and open his eyes to make contact with his mother. This is the start of early bonding, and emotional and social intelligence. This is the first and most essential bond, the basis of all other bonds in life.
Breastfeeding: The baby crawls to the breast and starts to suckle on his own, with a proper latch so breastmilk production is being stimulated early on. The baby in the right place is very competent! All of the hormones in mother and baby work together as they were designed to. The baby will drink so does not get hypoglycaemic, the mum’s chest will warm automatically if her baby is cold, and even cool baby if too warm.
Sleep: The baby will then settle to sleep, and during quiet sleep all of these sensations collected will fire and wire circuits to the emotional brain (amygdala), be organised and sent back to the cortex when he wakes again, thus completing the brain circuits for healthy development.
If the baby is separated we create stress by disturbing all of the above in mum and baby. Baby cries, heart rate and blood pressure goes up, oxygen levels go down. The baby crying uses up more calories so gets “hypoglycaemic”, so is given sugar, so gut does not work so well. The gut needs only colostrum to coat the stomach with antibodies to protect from germs.
For prematures they need mother EVEN more to stabilise. Instead they are taken to ICU, given sugar, put in incubator with bright lights, loud sounds, with strange smells of disinfectant etc. They cry and we have MADE THEM WORSE by separating them from mum.