Here he comes into your arms, covered in vernix and taking his first few breaths, the moment you have worked so hard for and waited for since you found out you were pregnant. The great release and feeling of your baby from your womb to your chest is almost overwhelming. What do you do next? The next hour is very important for you and baby, especially if you can get an undisturbed first hour. Tummy to tummy, skin to skin as you and your partner awe over his first few minutes of earth side life. Here are a few benefits for you and your baby’s first undisturbed hour:
*Oxytocin levels are at their highest right after baby is born. That feeling of unconditional love sets in, innate motherly instincts come over you.
*Baby has a warm, calm, safe, nourishing, quiet environment where he smells his first meal and breast crawls to latch on his own.
*Delayed cord clamping can be done if baby is skin to skin. This allows baby to receive the remaining red blood cells and oxygen from the placenta which will aid his breathing in his new environment.
*Breastfeeding soon after birth helps mother deliver the placenta faster, easier and reduces the risk of postpartum hemorrhaging.
*Skin to skin helps baby better regulate his body temperature. Mother’s body is a natural incubator for her baby.
*Helps to regulate baby’s blood sugar levels.
*Mother and baby will establish a scent connection with each other and establish their new relationship. The mother’s familiar voice and sound of her heartbeat is soothing for baby.
*Mother is more confident and comfortable with taking care of her baby’s needs.
*Breastfeeding is more successful and continues for a longer period of time.
*Prevents anxiety over separation. Babies are born with innate survival instincts and want to stay in mother’s safe place that is not life threatening.
*Delaying baby’s first bath allows the vernix, a natural skin protectant on baby’s skin, immune properties’ to protect baby’s skin while his natural defense system grows stronger in his new environment. The vernix also keeps baby’s skin moist and soft.
*Baby’s immunity is boosted naturally snuggling with his mother by jump starting his immune system to fight off infections and protects from disease in the future.
*The first moment of family bonding begins.
*Later in life kissing, hugging and holding of your child continues strongly.
We have been going through a period in time where baby is taken from mother to be bathed, weighted, checked, etc. Ask your health care provider what is his practice with baby and mother after birth. If he is unwilling to let you have your much needed and wanted undisturbed first hour, consider finding a health care provider that will. Times are changing…first undisturbed hours are coming more and more common. A benefit to having a birth Doula by your side is she can help provide information so you can make an educated decision on what you want for your baby and help you succeed in your postpartum plan. Your birth Doula can also help you establish breastfeeding and answer any questions you may have.
You have the right to do what you feel is best for your baby. Decide what will best work for you and your partner, then find a health care provider and birth Doula that aligns with and supports your decisions. Happy Birthing!
Krisha Crosley CD(DONA), BBCD
Serenity Life Doula