Skin-To-Skin Isn't Just For Breastfeeding

There are two major things to remember about formula feeding: it's nobody's business why you're giving your baby formula, and you can still bond with your baby even if they aren't breastfeeding. But can you do skin-to-skin if formula feeding? The short answer is yes, of course you can. The longer answer is, it's totally beneficial and you should definitely give it a try.

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and Registered Nurse (RN) Jennifer Passwaters tells Romper that she encourages all moms to try skin-to-skin. "It helps regulate baby's breathing and temperature and it also helps colonize them with mom's good bacteria," she says.

IBCLC Carrie Wilson DiStefano agrees. "It's great for bonding, too," DiStefano says. "In the hospital where I work, all moms and babies are put immediately skin-to-skin after delivery. I have even seen moms who planned to formula feed do skin-to-skin with their babies and end up wanting to try breastfeeding. It's because they connected with their babies and baby would be searching for the breast."

But even if you have no intentions of breastfeeding (and that's absolutely OK), the skin-to-skin contact can also be bonding for you and your baby. A 2014 article in the Journal of Perinatal Education noted that the hormone oxytocin increases significantly during skin-to-skin and promotes maternal and newborn attachment, reduces stress for both of you, and helps your baby "transition to postnatal life." No matter how you feed your baby, that oxytocin will help you and your baby to bond.

So soak up all of those snuggles with your baby and a bottle of formula. You can try skin-to-skin while you're feeding your baby their bottle or you can practice skin-to-skin throughout your day. IBCLC Angie Natero tells Romper that even your partner can get in on the action. "Skin-to-skin can help to maintain and control your baby's temperature, regulate their heart rate and respiration, and to maintain stable blood sugars," she says. So don't let yourself feel that skin-to-skin is only for breastfeeding moms; it's for any parent who wants to reap the benefits skin-to-skin brings, even with a bottle in their hand.