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Why Andy Cohen's Skin-to-Skin Time With New Baby Benjamin Is So Crucial

Snuggles with baby right after birth aren't just for mommy.

Andy Cohen proudly showed off his newborn son, Benjamin Allen Cohen, to the world with the snuggliest pic ever. The Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen host posted a smiling selfie to Instagram just hours after Benjamin's birth this week where he is hugging his boy tight to his chest for some skin-to-skin time.  

"WOW!" he captioned it. "I’m in love. And speechless. And eternally grateful to an incredible surrogate. And I’m a dad. Wow."

Benjamin clocked in at 9 pounds, 2 ounces, and 20 inches long when he was born via surrogate at 6:35 P.M. PT on February 4.

But that picture is more than just a cute new daddy hug. Every dad should have skin-to-skin time after their baby is born — it's not just for moms like many previously thought.

According to research, the importance of dad’s role during birth and the postnatal period is as important as mom's. "Even beyond the immediate postnatal period, we’ve recently learned that dad’s interactions can impact a child’s social and emotional health for the first 10 years, but likely much longer," experts say.

It's not just good for baby.

"Interrupting immediate skin to skin actually has risks. Dr. Nils Bergman recently presented research that shows just 30 minutes of skin to skin with dad actually rewires dad’s brain. Mothers have the advantage of the natural hormonal changes during and immediately following birth, especially the hormone oxytocin, to help their maternal instincts kick in. For dad, time spent with and caring for baby helps the bonding process.

"When dad spends time skin to skin with his newborn hormonal changes occur including a rise in dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for many things including pleasure. A rise in dopamine plus the release of oxytocin means dad’s brain creates a positive association with close interaction with baby. It seems that skin to skin with dad can help dad’s natural parenting instincts to kick in."

Dr. Nicole Avena, author of What to Eat When You’re Pregnant, tells Personal Space that skin-to-skin time is actually important for the whole family.

"That includes dads and older siblings," she says. "Not only does it reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels, but is also increases oxytocin, which is often referred to as a bonding or cuddle hormone. It is great for the baby because it can help stabilize body temp and make the baby feel calm."

Looks like Andy's already a super dad!

Credit: Andy Cohen/Instagram

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