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Skin-to-skin information

Skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby immediately following birth for at least an hour is recommended and we encourage you to recognise when your baby is ready to breastfeed, offering help if you need it.

A first minutes of life

Why is skin-to-skin contact important?

It helps with the following:

  1. Assists with bonding
  2. The baby is more likely to latch and breastfed
  3. Prolongs breastfeeding duration
  4. Releases colostrum ready for the baby
  5. Enhances ‘baby-led’ breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding is a programme in the baby’s hindbrain and    is “baby driven”
  6. Assists in the transition period – from foetal to neonatal life – for the baby.  It enhances stabilisation of behaviour and facilities adaptation to the outside world.
  7. Encourages breastfeeding – driven by smell, taste, voice – the unwashed breast is best.
  8. Stabilises heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation and therefore blood sugars.
  9. Babies cry less (therefore aids blood sugar stabilising).
  10. Offers pain relief during painful procedures.
  11. Colonises baby with maternal pathogens.
  12. Takes advantage of the baby’s alert period after birth.
  13. A latch usually occurs by 50 minutes as long as there is no influence from drugs given during labour.
  14. Separation from the mother doubles the baby’s stress hormones.  These levels decrease when baby is given back to mother.
  15. Higher maternal oxytocin levels.  This helps:
    • to increase lactation
    • with the delivery of the placenta (high oxytocin levels at 15,30,45 minutes after birth are significantly elevated)
    • to increase the temperature of maternal chest wall
    • to provide a sedating and calming effect

The Importance of Rooming-in

McBrearty Maternity Unit supports baby and mother rooming-in together.

Why is rooming-in important?

  1. Significant increase in the successful initiation of breastfeeding
  2. Promotes successful breastfeeding
  3. More likely the baby will be exclusively breastfed
  4. Increases the duration of breastfeeding
  5. Mother learns to identify baby’s cues
  6. Separation is stressful for both mother and baby
  7. Babies breastfeed more frequently
  8. Decreases the risk of breast engorgement
  9. Breastmilk supply increases earlier
  10. Mothers produce more milk
  11. Babies gain more weight
  12. Decreases jaundice
  13. Encourages bonding
  14. Improves the infants sleep
  15. Rooming-in does not make mothers more tired
  16. Decreases infants crying (baby will cry more if apart from mother and carers respond less to a baby crying, when baby is out of the mother’s room)
  17. Any medical procedures will be performed in mother’s presence
  18. Reduces the rate of infection by reducing exposure to foreign bacteria
  19. Reinforces (to the mother) her importance to the baby
  20. Baby is safer; for instance (in the rare case) of choking, fire or 'baby-snatching'

Safe Sleeping

Key Safe sleep Messages– how to protect your baby (Source:  Ministry of Health)

  • Put your baby to sleep on their back with their face up. A baby’s breathing works best in this position.
  • Ensure your baby’s face is clear of bedding and they can’t get trapped or strangled. Avoid using pillows and bumper pads; don’t put baby down on soft surfaces; make sure there are no loose blankets; remove any cords from bedding; ensure there are no gaps in their bed.
  • Your baby is safest in their own bed (a cot, bassinette, wahakura or Pepi-Pod®) and in the same room as their parent/caregiver (when the parent/caregiver is also asleep). Babies shouldn’t sleep in bed with another person (either adult or child).
  • Your baby should be smoke free in the womb and after birth. Also make sure friends and family don’t smoke around baby.
  • If possible, breastfeed your baby.

Immunisation During Pregnancy

Find out about the benefits of getting immunised during your pregnancy

Find out about the benefits of getting immunised during your pregnancy

It helps protect babies and infants against serious diseases

  • Whooping cough (Pertussis)
  • Rotavirus
  • Tetanus
  • Hib
  • Measles
  • Polio
  • Rubella
  • Diphtheria
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Chickenpox
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Mumps
  • Hepatitis B

In 2015, the Ministry of Health published a discussion guide for midwives, practice nurses and other health professionals to discuss immunisation with new and expectant parents, called "Let's talk about Immunisation".

The material in the discussion guide has been condensed for use as a presentation for parenting and pregnancy education classes.

Research has suggested that there was a need for resources about immunisation in this context, particularly maternal immunisation.

You are invited to download the presentation, but please note that it's a large file, as it includes two short video clips for presenters to show as they see fit.

Please note: In order to view the 2 videos that form part of this presentation you would be best to first download the file to your computer. Also you need to have a recent version of QuickTime installed on your computer.

Influenza and Pregnancy

If you are pregnant it is important to protect yourself and your unborn baby from influenza.

Experience from previous influenza outbreaks shows that pregnant women, their unborn babies and their new infants are at greater risk from complications associated with influenza.


A video-clip produced by the Northland DHB outlining the possible dangers if mothers are not receiving flu immunisation before pregnancy. Note that here in New Zealand pregnant mothers receive this immunisation free of charge. (for more details view the video)

Simply click on the image below to open the webpage with the video-clip.

Fight Flu website

Visit the Fight Flu Website to find out even more about how Influenza immunisation could save you and your pregnancy.