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Why It’s So Important That Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Did Skin-to-Skin Contact With His New Daughter

Self logo Self 4/25/2018 Korin Miller
Dwayne Johnson posing for the camera © Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is known for being a total badass onscreen, which may be in part why a photo he shared on Monday that showcases a soft, cuddly side of the actor is getting so much attention. In the pic, Johnson is shirtless and cradling his newborn daughter, who he recently welcomed with girlfriend Lauren Hashian.

“Skin to skin. Our mana,” he captioned the sweet shot on Instagram. “Blessed and proud to bring another strong girl into this world. Tiana Gia Johnson came into this world like a force of nature.” Johnson then talked about fatherhood in the most amazing way. "I was raised and surrounded by strong, loving women all my life, but after participating in baby Tia’s delivery, it’s hard to express the new level of love, respect and admiration I have for @laurenhashianofficial and all mamas and women out there," he wrote.

"Word to the wise gentlemen, it’s critical to be by your lady’s head when she’s delivering, being as supportive as you can.. holding hands, holding legs, whatever you can do," he continued in the caption. "But, if you really want to understand the single most powerful and primal moment life will ever offer - watch your child being born. Its a life changer and the respect and admiration you have for a woman, will forever be boundless."

Skin to skin. Our mana. Blessed and proud to bring another strong girl into this world. Tiana Gia Johnson came into this world like a force of nature and Mama @laurenhashianofficial labored and delivered like a true rockstar. I was raised and surrounded by strong, loving women all my life, but after participating in baby Tia’s delivery, it’s hard to express the new level of love, respect and admiration I have for @laurenhashianofficial and all mamas and women out there. Word to the wise gentlemen, it’s critical to be by your lady’s head when she’s delivering, being as supportive as you can.. holding hands, holding legs, whatever you can do. But, if you really want to understand the single most powerful and primal moment life will ever offer - watch your child being born. Its a life changer and the respect and admiration you have for a woman, will forever be boundless. And to my third and youngest daughter, Tiana Gia - like I did when your two older sisters Simone Alexandra and Jasmine Lia were born, you have my word, I’ll love, protect, guide and make ya laugh for the rest of my life. Your crazy dad has many responsibilities and wears many hats in this big ol’ world, but being your dad will always be the one I’m most proud to wear. Oh and one more thing.. you’re gonna love rollin’ in daddy’s pick up truck. #TianaGiaJohnson🌺 #3rdDaughter #BlessesAndGratefulMan #ImInTROUBLE

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Being present for the birth of your child is obviously an indescribable experience. And new parents are often encouraged to spend time physically holding onto their newborns, as Johnson did, after the birth for many reasons. The specific way he can be seen cuddling against his newborn sans shirt is a practice that some health experts recommend.

Skin-to-skin contact is a very common practice in hospitals and birthing centers and may come with some real benefits.

At its core, skin-to-skin contact (also known as “kangaroo care”) is when the naked baby is placed stomach-down on the mother's (or partner's) bare chest after birth. The medical team will generally dry the baby off, put a hat on them, cover them with a blanket, and check their vitals while the baby is snuggled up against the mother, the Cleveland Clinic says.

The skin-to-skin practice was originally developed in Colombia as an alternative method to incubator care. The practice was a way to keep premature babies warm so that they could be released from overcrowded hospitals, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Moms were asked to hold their baby (in a diaper) beneath their clothes, skin-to-skin, snuggled between their breasts.

But the possible benefits go beyond simply keeping the baby warm. The practice allows the parent and baby to bond on a very primal, physical level, Jessica A. Shepherd, an ob/gyn at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, tells SELF. What's more, stabilizing the baby’s body temperature by putting the newborn directly on an adult’s skin allows the child to put its energy into breastfeeding, which can help the baby sleep more and cry less, Melissa Goist, M.D., an ob/gyn at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells SELF. Babies who do skin-to-skin often breastfeed better and continue to nurse an average of six weeks longer than those who don’t do skin-to-skin, the Cleveland Clinic says.

And although skin-to-skin contact was traditionally recommended for the people giving birth, partners can also take part in it. “For the partner, it’s equally great and helps form an early bond,” Taraneh Shirazian, M.D., an ob/gyn with NYU Langone Health, tells SELF.

This can be especially useful in cases where a baby is born via C-section: The mom may hold the baby for a moment, but the partner will likely do skin-to-skin with the baby until after the mom gets stitches and is able to take over, Dr. Shepherd says.

But if you can’t do skin-to-skin with your baby right away, it's not the end of the world.

In an ideal scenario, you or your partner (or both) would do skin-to-skin with the baby in the first few hours after they’re born. But that's not always possible, and that's OK. Sometimes babies have a health condition that requires them to get immediate medical care or the mom needs medical attention that prevents her from being able to hold her baby at that time.

Even if you can't do skin-to-skin with your baby right away, “you both will be fine,” Dr. Shirazian says, and it does not mean that you will bond any less with your newborn. Your partner can hold your baby if you’re unable. Or, hospitals have incubators to keep the babies warm, she points out.

And the importance of skin-to-skin doesn’t end after the initial few hours after giving birth: Dr. Shepherd says you should continue to do it as much as possible as you continue to care for your baby. So, you'll have plenty of chances to get those snuggles in.

20 surprising facts about spring babies (Courtesy: Mom.me) 

Oh, baby!: Were you or your child born between March 20 and June 21? It turns out, researchers have found correlations between certain diseases, career paths and personalities—all based on the season in which we were born. While not all correlations equal causation, we wanted to take a look at the more surprising things attributed to babies born in the spring. Warning: It's not all flowers and baby chicks. 20 Surprising Facts About Spring Babies

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