We all need skin-to-skin contact with other humans. Period.
This contact is vital for newborns. Placing the newborn on her mother's chest as soon as possible after birth seems to trigger the reflex of crawling up to the breast and nursing.
A new study shows that ongoing skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby can increase attachment and reduce the risk of postpartum depression. According to the National Post:
The study also looked at how skin-to-skin contact affects babies’ cognitive functions and their relationships with their mothers.
And infant is also more aware when awake and sleeps more deeply while lying skin-to-skin on the mother’s chest, Dr. Bigelow says.