Mothers and babies have a physiologic need to be together at the moment of birth and during the hours and days that follow. Keeping mothers and babies together is a safe and healthy birth practice. Evidence supports immediate, uninterrupted skin-to-skin care after vaginal birth and during and after cesarean surgery for all stable mothers and babies, regardless of feeding preference. Unlimited opportunities for skin-to-skin care and breastfeeding promote optimal maternal and child outcomes. This article is an updated evidence-based review of the "Lamaze International Care Practices That Promote Normal Birth, Care Practice #6: No Separation of Mother and Baby, With Unlimited Opportunities for Breastfeeding," published in The Journal of Perinatal Education, 16(3), 2007.
Keywords: Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative; birth physiology; birth practices/practises; breastfeeding; cesarean/caesarean section; exclusive breastfeeding; kangaroo care; mother–infant interaction; rooming-in; sensitive period; skin-to-skin.