You’ve just spent hours bringing your new baby earth side and you finally get to hold them in your arms. What’s next? The first hour after your baby is born is essential for both mom and baby. Your baby is transitioning from uterus to world and you are recovering from birth. Evidence has shown that keeping mom and baby together during this first vital hour has long term benefits for breastfeeding, bonding, and recovery. So what makes “The Golden Hour” important?
Breastfeeding within the first hour has shown to increase chances of successfully breastfeeding long term. This also helps the uterus contract to help deliver the placenta. Babies can also do something naturally called the “breast crawl”. The baby begins to ‘crawl’ around mom without guidance looking for their mother’s milk.
Skin to Skin
Placing the baby directly on your chest with direct skin to skin contact has so many benefits besides snuggling your new baby. Skin to skin helps babies regulate their temperature, their respiration, and their heart rate. This also promotes mother and baby bonding and can also help reduce the chances of developing postpartum depression.
As stated above, skin-to-skin helps mother and baby bond. However, the bonding doesn’t stop there. There are other ways to bond with baby during this magical hour such as breastfeeding, meeting and cuddling, and learning their cues. Golden hour is not just for mom. Use this time to bond together as a new family. Dad is able to participate in the skin-to-skin action as well. Bonding during this first hour is best when done alone as a new family.
You may decide to delay the clamping of your baby’s umbilical cord. Delaying the clamping of the umbilical cord has benefits such as increased blood volume and stem cells, and a decreased risk of anemia. This is also the time mom will birth the placenta. Health care professionals will asses both mom and baby to ensure both are healthy after their long journey together.
Having a cesarean birth does not exclude you from the “Golden Hour”. Consider asking your provider for a “gentle C-section”. Somethings you can ask for is lowering the drape, skin to skin with yourself or partner, keeping the baby in the room until mom is finished with surgery. Once in recovery you can continue enjoying your “Golden Hour” together.
If you are wanting to get the most out of your magical hour after birth, consider thinking ahead. Alert your friends and family that you would like privacy for the first hour to bond with baby alone, decide what procedures and assessments you would like done, let your healthcare professionals know your preferences for after birth.
If you are unsure about navigating your birth and Golden Hour, reach out to one of our doulas here at Indy Doula Associates to inquire about our birth and postpartum services we offer.
by Tori McIntosh, IDA Mentee Doula