My sweet baby boy is 2 and still wants to be skin-to-skin with me every chance he gets.
I’ve heard the comments. I’ve seen the looks from family members when I tell them he still loves to snuggle with me skin-to-skin.
I hear the comments of how it’s weird he still wants to be that close to me and how I should put a stop to that. But I honestly don’t want to!
I love the fact my toddler still wants to bond with me. I don’t plan on stopping it anytime soon and here’s why!
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Skin-to-skin contact for babies has been proven through research to benefit a baby’s development. Through skin-to-skin contact after birth, babies can receive the following benefits:
- Regulates baby’s heartbeat and breathing patterns to mimic mom’s
- It helps adjust baby’s body temperature
- Stabilizes baby’s blood sugar
- Encourages baby to find the breast and begin to breastfeed
- Reduced crying and stress for the baby by lowering cortisol levels (the stress hormone)
- Boosts bonding between mother and child
- Improves communication skills between mother and baby because mom can recognize baby’s signals like feeding signals
But all the benefits are for babies! What about skin-to-skin benefits for toddlers?
Unfortunately, there’s not much research on the benefits to toddlers for skin-to-skin contact. But I’m confident that the same benefits that babies experience can still transfer over into toddlerhood.
Reasons To Continue Skin-To-Skin With Toddlers
I’ve made the choice to keep doing skin-to-skin contact with my 2-year-old. But I didn’t make that choice alone. It was my toddler’s.
I tried to decrease the contact, but any time he wants to snuggle with me he pulls at my shirt in an upward motion and uses the sign language sign for “please.” It’s hard to say no to a two-year-old when he’s so polite!
Now, each day during nap time and bedtime he will lay skin-to-skin with me against my chest. And I consider this time to be precious. Here’s why I still continue skin-to-skin with my toddler and don’t plan on stopping!
I Didn’t Get To Do Skin-To-Skin With My Firstborn
My firstborn had a traumatic birth. He had to be resuscitated and therefore I wasn’t able to be skin-to-skin with him in the hours after delivery. In fact, I was away from him for 6 hours because he was in the Neonatal section and I was in recovery.
Once I did get to be with my son, I tried every trick in the book to try and breastfeed him, but he could not ever latch correctly. So we did not have skin-to-skin contact from breastfeeding either.
When we got home from 7 days of being in the hospital, I always tried to place him skin-to-skin, but he never seem comfortable. Instead, he would squirm and cry. He preferred to be swaddled. At the time I just thought it was part of his personality, but now we know he had autism so that is probably the reason he never liked skin-to-skin with me.
With my second son, he was placed on my chest skin-to-skin immediately after my c-section, even when my doctor was stitching me up. He stayed skin-to-skin with me for hours afterward and we immediately went into the adventure of breastfeeding and it was beautiful!
I now continue to allow my toddler to go skin-to-skin with me during naptimes and at bedtime. The skin-to-skin contact we share is precious. I realize it won’t be this way forever. Eventually, he will grow out of it.
But since my sweet boy loves the contact I relish it because I wasn’t lucky enough to have that with my first son. Which has always been a deep regret of mine.
Related Articles: The Benefits Of Skin-To-Skin Contact After Birth
Skin-To-Skin Contact Is Calming
For both of us! Whenever my son is upset and crying, he’s easily calmed down with skin-to-skin contact. Now anytime he’s upset he will run to me and ask to lay against my chest using a mix of sign language and words.
Five minutes against my chest is all he needs to feel secure and calm.
It not only works for him, but it helps my own anxiety as well. If I am feeling overly stressed or anxious, I always calm down when he’s fallen asleep against my chest skin-to-skin. After a while, I notice my son’s heart rate will and breathing will slow and often match my own.
Why? Because whenever he lays against my chest, his head is always over my heart.
I try to get him to move to my other breast, but he always gravities back to listening to my heartbeat.
It’s Increasing Bonding
Even though my son is two and should probably be over skin-to-skin contact, I love how it’s increased our bond with one another. Since my first son with autism often doesn’t want to be touched or cuddled for long periods, I have a very different bond with my second son.
We still continue skin-to-skin because there is an unspoken bond between us and I feel that skin-to-skin only increases that bond as time goes on.
Sometimes I wonder if he needs the skin-to-skin to feel secure and comforted or is it me? I know every day I get to snuggle skin-to-skin and I always cherish those moments.
I know it sounds weird, but most often now I’d rather sleep skin-to-skin with my son than be cuddled by my husband. (Sorry, baby!) There’s something about skin-to-skin contact that makes me feel complete as a mother.
I don’t make any apologies for still doing skin-to-skin contact with my two-year-old son. Mothers know what’s best for their children. If you choose to still breastfeed your six-year-old… Honestly, it’s none of my business, nor anyone else’s.
Providing for our babies’ emotional and physical wellbeing positively should never be judged. Just because one mother chooses to do something longer in her routine with her child doesn’t mean the whole world needs to judge her.
Just keep moving forward and be the best mom you know how to be! Moms don’t deserve the judgment they receive all the time for minor things.
For me- That involves skin-to-skin contact with my toddler. So I’ll continue to ignore the criticism I receive from family members for “still giving into him for skin-to-skin contact.”
Both my son and I enjoy it and it brings us closer together. I don’t see anything wrong with that.
The skin-to-skin contact will not last forever and he will eventually grow out of it. But he can decide when that time will come because every child is different. He will outgrow it in his own time.
Until then, I look forward each day to the two of us bonding skin-to-skin with my toddler.