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SKIN TO SKIN

skinChris Lundberg is a nurse and she loves her job. She works in a big city hospital as a lactation consultant, assisting a large team of labor and delivery staff. She started Skin to Skin as a way to make people aware of the miracle of birth, life, and the importance of nurturing mothers and babies in honoring motherhood.

Skin to Skin is a program dedicated to mothers and babies bonding immediately after birth by laying the babies Skin to Skin with the mothers. By placing the baby on the mother’s chest after birth, face down with head under mom’s chin, in direct contact with the mother, the touch and even the smell happening in that connection creates an unprecedented bonding. It provides for a warm welcoming environment for the baby who can hear the familiar sounds of mom’s heart beat and breathing. Lying the baby face down prevents the startle reflex and positively affects the baby’s blood sugar and heart rate; everything stays stable. Babies are also much more likely to initiate the process of finding the breast on their own, flinging or moving down and latching on all by themselves. This greatly reduces the stress that mothers feel about “am I going to be able to breastfeed?” as they see their baby being an active partner who actually leads the dance.

The longer term outcome of this bonding is a substantial increase in the duration of breastfeeding in mothers and the patient’s delight exceeding all expectations. The mothers leave the hospital happy and confident, feeling able to successfully parent their newborns and fully aware of the gift their babies are to their lives.

Chris believes that with the implementation of the Skin to Skin program. the mom and baby fall in love with each other and ultimately this brings about happier families who feel love and connection.

Chris says that her one intention with starting Skin to Skin was to institute an evidence-based practice that improves the method of care for mothers and newborns in her hospital based on evidence. The evidence showed a large increase in the number of mothers nursing their babies along with a large increase in the reported happiness of the patients.

Along with this unprecedented increase in patient happiness with hospital care, Skin to Skin made the staff’s jobs much easier, the nurses loved the patient response and every one felt great.

What Chris says she learned from the game she designed was to find the common ground between nursing staff and physician through communication so they could discover they all wanted the same thing for the patient—a happy hospital experience. According to Chris, the staff is now empowering women in a way that on leaving the hospital they feel they will be successful, caring mothers.

In the end Chris feels Skin to Skin is more than a way to have mothers and babies bond; it promotes a connection between the hospital staff, the babies and the mother where everyone can participate in the joy of birth and life.
Chris Lundberg, Team 1, Fourth Quarter, Team Cincinnati

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