This just popped up in my in box:
I’m not going to take Blake up on her offer, but it did remind me of a blog post I had wanted to write, about the importance of being naked – in fact: skin to skin contact, to be precise. I felt that I had to share with you just how very important I think it is, on the off chance that it may save a marriage, or help someone to bond with their baby.
Now, I am not a nudist, in fact I’m quite a prude. I don’t strut my stuff in front of my kids (to be honest I couldn’t deal with the backlash) and I don’t get my tits out on the beach. I’m not knocking anyone who does either. But recently it became abundantly clear to me how much I need to feel someone else’s skin pressed up to mine. In my case, my partner’s, but you may have your own person of choice. I discovered its importance through having two injured shoulders, that for quite a while rendered staying in one position for any length of time, impossible. I would wriggle and writhe my way around the bed, so any sustained pressing together of bodies was impossible. I began to realise how much I missed it. How much I ached for it and much it recharges my endorphins. This isn’t a lazy, loose hand draped across a pillow in the vague direction of the other half – this is serious skin on to skin action and it’s the simplest thing to do. Got a headache? Skin to skin action baby! Feeling so exhausted you haven’t even got the energy to turn off the light? Skin to skin it right up!
The day I started to wear pyjamas in bed was the day, I swear, my marriage started to fall apart. Damn those pyjamas with their promises of warmth and comfort. Damn the thermals that stopped the Winter chill. Damn even the sexy silk ones with their alluring promises. Damn you all, because you put a stop to the one thing that was always there: a constant so simple and honest that it got covered up and with it a natural bond was getting covered up too and over time – smothered.
As I began to realise the importance of the most natural of connections, I thought about how much time I had spent with my babies, naked. When they are first placed on you after birth, that feeling of naked contact is designed to create an immediate bond. That connection may not always happen, but for me I was lucky that it did. Breastfeeding can continue this wonderful, naked relationship, but if you aren’t breastfeeding I can now see how vital it could be to lay your baby naked on your skin. Dads too. Everyone loves to see a photo of a baby laying on a bare torso – it’s almost become a cliché, but I now realise that it is most probably essential for the dads to create that bond.
Of course this holy unclad grail may not always be possible: you may not have a partner and many other reasons besides. But I urge you if you have to ditch the jammies, clamber out of the onesie – yes, even though it’s Winter and connect, skin to skin: pressed, passively, perfect. Equally vulnerable. Equal.