Moms and dads across the world are gushing and kvelling over a touching photo of a father and son doing skin-to-skin with their family’s new additions: a set of adorable twin babies.
In it, the father and son look like twins themselves, as they rest sweetly with both babies on their chests. And while it’s always so heartwarming to see a dad being tender and loving toward his newborn, seeing his young son — now a proud big brother — emulate his father in this way just makes the heart (and ovaries) totally burst with happiness.
The photo was originally shared last year on the Swedish Facebook page Forældre og Fødsel, but was recently translated into English and shared on the NINO Birth’s Facebook page this past Saturday, where it’s since gone viral. To date, both posts have been shared over a combined 34K times (and counting). Both have also received hundreds of enthusiastic comments from parents whose babies benefited greatly from skin-to-skin contact and many others who regretted they hadn’t been able to experience this it with their babies. (In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, the skin-to-skin contact is just what it sounds like: the practice of placing your unclothed baby on your bare skin, oftentimes to comfort, soothe, and promote bonding.)
One mom gushed: “Spent two months with my son on my skin from morning until night. He was born 2 months too early. A beautiful experience!!!”
Another mom wished she’d been able to experience skin-to-skin with her preemie, writing: “Oh how I wish I could have been able to hold my son like this when he was born at 31 weeks at 2.5 lbs. I hated having to watch him in the incubator and desperately wanting to hold him. This makes so much more sense.”
Originally written in Danish, the post describes some of the practices developed in a Sweden to promote skin-to-skin contact for newborns — and the many benefits of this for babies, especially preemies. According to the post, premature babies as small as 700 gm. (or about 1.5 lbs.) can be placed skin-to-skin with their parents.
Totally amazing, huh?
The post specifically addresses the teachings of a Swedish Professor, Uwe Ewald, who came to Hvidovre Hospital in Denmark to discuss his research on the power of skin-to-skin contact for preemies. According to the post: “Even very small premature babies are taken out of the incubator to be skin to skin with their parents as much as possible. Premature babies, born three months prematurely, are put on the parent’s chest instead of alone in an incubator.”
But skin-to-skin contact — often referred to as Kangaroo Care — isn’t just for bonding. Professor Ewald says that it actually regulates a premature baby’s body temperature more effectively than an incubator. Skin-to-skin also promotes better breathing and more weight gain for these tiny babies. And being placed on a parent’s skin means that these babies will be populated with their parent’s bacterial flora, as opposed to the hospital’s flora. (You can read more about the amazing and fascinating benefits of skin-to-skin contact for preemies on NINO Birth’s sister site, Kangaroo Mother Care.)
But even if you don’t have a preemie, there are many benefits of skin-to-skin for babies of all ages. According to the NINO birth’s Facebook page, in addition to bonding, the benefits of skin-to-skin include eye contact, stress reduction for babies, and promotion of breastfeeding.
But most of us don’t need to read a website or a study to just get it. I mean, just the feeling of cuddling a newborn close — inhaling that newborn-baby scent and feeling their tiny bodies breath in and out against our chests — is basically why we signed up for this parenting gig in the first place, amiright?
Yep; snuggling with a tiny human is pretty much the best thing in the world — and the fact that it has tons of added benefits for babies is just one more plus.