It is standard practice in a hospital setting particularly among Western cultures, to separate mothers and their newborns. Separation is also common for babies under medical distress or premature babies, who may be placed in an incubator.
Human are the only mammals who practice such maternal-neonate separation, but its physiological impact on the baby has been unknown until now. Researchers measured heart rate variability in 2-day-old sleeping babies for one hour each during skin-to-skin contact with mother and alone in a cot next to mother's bed. Neonatal autonomic activity was 176% higher and quiet sleep 86% lower during maternal separation compared to skin-to-skin contact.
Dr. John Krytal, Editor of Biological Pyschiactry, commented on the study's findings: "Maternal separation suggests that it is major physiologic stressor for the infant. "Thus, as futher evidenceemerges, the challenge to doctors will be to incorporate skin-to-skin contact into routine treatment whilst still safely providing the other elements of newborn medical care.
In study of 29 father-infant pairs, full-term healthy newborns born by planned cesarean section were randomized to be place either skin-to-skin on their father's chest or beside their father in a crib. The infants in the skin-to-skin group stopped crying and were calmer compared to infants in the crib group. A father should therefore be regarded as the primary caregiver for the baby when a mother is not available immediately following a birth.
Early skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her baby may need to be limited for practical and medical safety reasons. "After births with complication, mothers are often not available to their babies for contact," says principal author Kerstin Erlandsson. The study shows that a father can soothe his newborn as effectively as a mother, and more effectively than if baby is placed in a crib during the first two hours after birth.
Which of the following themes is mainly discussed in both passages?