The Golden Hour
The first hour after birth is one of the most important times for mammalian bonding - a time for you and your baby to connect. The moments after birth are the best time for you both to recover from the challenges of labor, to bond, and to establish breastfeeding.
Most hospital protocols require the baby be moved to a warmer, weighed and measured, given vitamin K, and swaddled before being given to the mother. However, it is highly recommended that these routine things be delayed for at least an hour to give them mother and baby an opportunity to bond. As long as the baby is healthy, there is no danger in postponing these things for the first hour.
If you are birthing somewhere other than at home, you may need to plan for this special time with your baby. Discuss your desires with your care provider and make sure that in the case of a normal vaginal birth you will be given this important opportunity to bond and connect with your child.
Further reading on this topic:
When that tiny baby is placed into your arms, he or she is the ultimate reward for your nine months of careful preparation. You may not know that what you and others around you do in that very first hour of your baby’s life can have a significant—even lifelong—impact on the bond you have with your baby. This article shows you how to best prepare for that golden hour, how to maximize the bonding experience, how to defer hospital procedures that may interfere with bonding during that first hour and how to communicate those needs to your medical caregivers.
The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative is the foundation of our work at Choices in Childbirth, and is the core philosophy of the care providers listed in our Provider Network. The principles of Mother-Friendly Care include: Normalcy of the Birthing Process, Empowerment, Autonomy, Do No Harm, and Responsibility.
The World Health Organization, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the American Academy of Pediatrics and many other health care authorities have stated that breastfeeding is the best thing for our babies and yet it is not something that every new mom does. Many pregnant women lack experience with very young babies and haven’t seen babies breastfeeding. For some there are unavoidable early difficulties, both physical and social. This article examines the process of breastfeeding and its benefits, the difficulties it might present, and who can help when the going gets tough.
Once your baby is born, you will need to know a few things to help keep her healthy and happy. Of course you need to know how to feed her (breast milk is best…don’t be shy to ask for help) as well as how to calm her crying and how to help her sleep. One of the first surprises that you, as a new parent, face is realizing that your little one is not fully ready for the world at birth. In a sense she needs a “4th trimester” of holding and rocking. The good news is that all babies have another incredible reflex that no one ever knew about…the calming reflex. Here is a guide to triggering that incredible reflex.
Alice and Jorge, early labor © Sarah Tew Photography