Before I became a mother, I assumed skin-to-skin contact, or "kangaroo care," with a newborn was meant to aid breastfeeding and that's it. Yeah, I was wrong. Turns out, skin-to-skin is the preferred way to hold and bond with all babies, regardless of how they're fed or who is feeding them. All parents, and not just moms, should use this technique regularly. So, when I asked dads to describe what it's like to do skin-to-skin for the first time, I realized most of them enjoyed this special time with their babies just as much as I did. Mom? Dad? Yeah, it doesn't matter. Skin-to-skin is awesome, regardless.
One of my favorite things about having a newborn was this close physical contact. I would put my little new babe inside my shirt and snuggle until he fell asleep, all warm and serene and secure. While it was a comfortable way to bond, skin-to-skin contact is more than just a nice cuddle. According to La Leche League, skin-to-skin contact, "Helps regulate the baby's temperature, breathing, heart rate, and sugar levels." So not only does it give you all those warm and fuzzy feelings, it actually assists your baby's body in doing baby body things. Science FTW.
When it comes to caring for new babies, dads are capable of being just as nurturing and loving as moms. They just need to be given the chance. It's pretty obvious that the following dads loved the opportunity to get close to their babies, so when the next skin-to-skin bonding session rolls around, consider passing your baby off to your partner. You might just give him the following feels:
"I was not interested in doing the kangaroo care to start with. I felt embarrassed taking my shirt off in the hospital, and it felt weird. My wife kind of pushed me into it and then I loved it. My baby was so warm and patted my chest with her little hands."
"It hurt at first. My baby wrapped his fingers around my chest hair and yanked! I ended up doing it for months, though."
"My wife was topless for like the first six months [of our baby's life] while she got the hang of breastfeeding. I took my top off, too, in solidarity, and ended up loving skin-to-skin contact with my baby."
"The first time I held my baby to my chest was just minutes after the birth. It was incredible, and I have never felt so much love for my baby, for my wife, and our new family. It was very emotional for me."
"To be honest, I wasn't feeling very connected to my new baby. [My partner and I] were going through a separation and there was a lot of stress and turmoil. My mom suggested I do the kangaroo care and it helped. I would tuck my baby in my shirt and watch TV. It brought us closer."
"My wife gave birth at home, so it was minutes after my son entered the world. I had my shirt off anyway, because it was so hot in the room, and when they passed him to me he just snuggled right in."
"The first time I did it was a few weeks after the birth. My wife really wanted me to do it for the bonding opportunity, but I didn't actually like it. Honestly, it made me too hot and I felt a bit silly."
"I was so afraid I was going to drop the baby, I didn't even want to try. The nurse told me to take my shirt off, she sat me down and put the baby on my chest, then wrapped us both in a blanket. I could feel myself falling in love with this new little person right then and there."
"My baby pooped on me the first time we did skin-to-skin, so that wasn't great! It got better, but I learned my lesson and I make sure there is always a diaper now."