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The Power of Hugs For Babies #NoBabyUnhugged

On April 26th I had the pleasure of attending an event for Huggies, where we learned all about the Power of Hugs, and all the benefits that skin-to-skin brings to babies and new mamas.

After having seven children, I’ve learned quite a bit about the power of hugs over time, however when I had my 1st child way back when I was eighteen I had no idea skin-to-skin was even a thing. I was very uneducated and unaware, so I feel like I missed out on that, and so did he. After more pregnancies, and lots of research I was able to find out how important it is to have the baby on your chest immediately after birth. But, it wasn’t until recently when I learned why it’s truly so important that children are hugged, right away and often. I am hoping that through my partnership with Huggies, I can educate more new parents on the power of skin-to-skin.

What is Skin-to-Skin?

Skin-to-skin is the practice of hugging and holding your newborn baby. Baby is wearing only a diaper, against your bare chest in the hours, days, and weeks after birth. Skin-to-skin is one of the most valuable gifts you can give to your child.

Benefits of Skin-to-Skin

Over 600 medical studies have shown that the effects of human touch are proving what us moms have always known; Hugs are so imperative. Not only are they vital to healthy development of a child but the benefits of human touch also extends throughout childhood. For babies, skin-to-skin helps to promote more stable heart rate, improved oxygen levels, more stable body temperature, improved pain tolerance, improved sleep, faster weight gain and also, healthier brain development.

WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT THE POWER OF HUGS:

Emulating The Power of Skin-to-Skin

As I mentioned, I was lucky enough to attend an event hosted by Huggies last month where we learned about skin-to-skin, the power of hugs, proper diapering and also why it’s important to have a Hug Plan.

The first stop at the event was with Dr. Dina Kulik where we heard about her own personal experience when her son was born and having difficulty breathing. While her son was taken into the NICU, she was told she couldn’t take him out of the incubator he was in, as he really needed to be in there to remain stable, but being a paediatrician and a mom, she wanted what all moms want and that is to be able to touch and love on her baby. When she took him out, and laid him on her chest for skin-to-skin he went squirming, breathing quickly and being quite agitated, to relaxed, sucking his thumb, breathing just fine, and being an average baby, all within 2 minutes. It made a huge difference and was comforting to him – the skin-to-skin contact immediately improved his health and shows just how important those first few moments of hugs truly is. He was discharged within hours.

After listening to Dr. Dina Kulik, we invited to try out these “hug” jackets made to simulate the feel of a hug around you. These jackets were really eye-opening, as we were able to feel what babies may feel (comfort, warmth, and presence) and I do believe it actually makes a difference in helping relax children, as when I was wearing the jacket I felt warm and cozy, what I imagine our babies feel when we are hugging and snuggling them

Preparing for First Hug: The Power of Human Touch

Next, we got to hear from child clinical psychologist, Dr. Christine Chambers, and certified neonatal nurse, Dr. Marsha Campbell-Yeo as well as Huggies Mom, Natalie Preddie.

Dr. Marsha Campbell-Yeo, who has been looking after moms and babies for 30+ years explained that often, most people generally understand that the skin-to-skin is good, but the medical aspect is more important and eye-opening, not everyone understands how much power is in a mom’s skin-to-skin hug. Also known as kangaroo care, skin-to-skin is when baby is placed on your bare chest in an upright position, wearing only a diaper, and it is important to cover the baby as they lay on your chest, to keep baby warm with your body temperature. It is imperative to do skin-to-skin for up to 2 hours after birth, even if it can’t happen as soon as the baby is born, even within 30 minutes after delivery.

With this skin-to-skin time, baby’s body temperature is maintained, you achieve better bonding between mom, dad, and children, also baby may cry less, and there are tremendous benefits to breastfeeding and pain relief. When babies are born, they have multiple tests after birth, and if the child can be held during those tests (especially needles) studies show there is a 30% pain reduction to newborns if they can be held by mom (or dad) during those tests.

Natalie Preddie, a Huggies mom, shared her experience as a first time mom and using the Hug Plan, which  Huggies introduced last year. The Hug Plan helped her because it made sense to her. It covers everything such as having the baby on your chest right away, etc. It also looks at what happens in the case of a C-Section, and planning for hugs if you’re having multiples. It’s a plan that you can sit down, and determine exactly how your baby will receive those initial hugs. During routine shots like Vitamin K, for example, you can specify you’d like holding baby during these procedures. It’s definitely a helpful resource.

Maximizing Hug Time at Home: Diapers & Wipes 101

Lastly, we were treated to a demonstration of proper diapering and wiping by Angela Johnston from the Huggies R&D team. This is paramount when you are about to welcome a new little one into your life. Huggies is the #1 choice for diapers in Canadian Hospitals. It was great to hear all the work Huggies does with NICUs to inform their product design. For example, in partnership with NICU nurses, Huggies introduced Nano Preemie diapers for babies under 2lbs. They also have a Micro Preemie for infants up to 4lbs. They also have a Micro Preemie for infants up to 4lbs, which they worked closely with nurses to develop to ensure they were safe for smaller infants, promote healthy development and do not risk hip dysplasia. They also created NICU friendly wipes, specifically designed for preterm babies. They are extra sensitive wipes that are perfect for smaller preterm infants with underdeveloped skin, to help make sure their delicate skin wouldn’t be irritated.

Tips From Experts on Changing Diapers at Home:

  • Keep Must-Haves Near: Make sure to have all your diapering must-haves nearby such as super absorbent diapers and skin-friendly wipes. Also, ensure a clean and safe changing area and keep your attention on your little one, especially when on a high surface.
  • Take a Closer Look: When the baby is naked and having the diaper change, be sure to inspect and make sure there are no marks or concerning rashes.
  • Prep Baby Comfortably: With one hand hold baby gently by the ankles, and lift baby’s legs to clean the diapering area with Huggies Natural Care Wipes. It’s imperative to wipe at every diaper change, even if urine only, to keep skin healthy.
  • Apply The Diaper: Huggies makes it easy. Slip diaper right under the baby. Pay close attention to the front/back of the diaper to ensure proper fit. Huggies has made this easy but writing FRONT and BACK on both the front and back of the diapers.
  • Final Checks: Ensure the diaper covers the baby’s behind fully, and that the ruffles on the diaper (at the sides) are fully out and not tucked in to help prevent leaks.

The power of hugs for babies is crucial. I know that as a mom I want the best possible start for my little ones so making sure others know this too is imperative to me.

Did you or would you consider a birth plan or hug plan for after your birthing experience?

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Huggies Canada. I am a Huggies #NoBabyUnhugged Mom. As Always opinions are all mine.

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