ALMOST a quarter of babies born at Poole Hospital NHS Trust did not have immediate skin-to-skin contact with their mother, new figures show.

This connection is said to have “lasting benefits” to both mother and child, including protecting babies from infection and encouraging them to breastfeed.

But 890 mothers who had their babies at the trust last year missed out on this important bonding time.

Over 2017/18, 4,200 mothers gave birth at Poole Hospital, yet the trust recorded data for 3,900 mothers, excluding those who had premature babies born before 37 weeks. Twenty three per cent did not have skin-to-skin contact with their babies within an hour of delivery.

In the same period, at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital, 250 of the 255 mothers who gave birth there achieved skin-to-skin contact, excluding premature births. With a success rate of 92 per cent, it is higher than the UK average rates.

The Royal College of Midwives said that maternity wards should “make every possible effort for all babies to have skin-to-skin contact with their mothers within one hour of birth”.