You have cared for and literally carried your baby in your belly for nearly nine months. With birth and delivery happening any time now, you are feeling a little anxious. You are worried about a lot of things, including what happens immediately after birth.
One thing that may happen is that you will be immediately separated from your baby as soon as you deliver it. But if you don’t want that to happen, you can always raise that concern with the hospital.
But why exactly should you keep your baby with you after delivery? Shouldn’t you let the doctor and nurses check them out?
Well, believe it or not, what your baby needs most after delivery is to be with you. Keep on reading to see why your baby should stay with you first.
Have you heard of the Golden Hour?
The Golden Hour is the first hour after your deliver your baby.
It’s important because what happens in the 60 minutes after delivery can have a significant impact on your baby’s transition from your womb to the outside world. In short, the golden hour is critical not just for your baby’s growth and development but for your mother and child bond.
The first hour after birth provides you and your infant with the golden opportunity to be in direct physical contact. Keeping mommies and babies together is one of the healthy birth practices.
It is not just an old wives’ tale, either. There is evidence to support uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby immediately after delivery when you are both stable.
The golden hour provides you and your baby with a short window of opportunity to forge that bond and connection after delivery. Although there is a need for a physical examination of your infant, this should be done while still maintaining skin-to-skin contact.
Routine procedures and requirements such as cord clamping or newborn bathing can be done after the golden hour. The same goes for weighing, measuring, bathing, injections, or blood tests. There is no harm done to you and your baby and paves the way for strong maternal/infant attachment, optimal growth and development, physical health, and breastfeeding.
What is skin-to-skin contact and why is it important?
Skin-to-skin care for your baby during the golden hour entails placing your newborn on top of your chest. This will ensure maternal and infant bonding. Also, getting as much skin-to-skin contact by keeping you and your baby together promotes optimal maternal and infant health outcomes.
The first hour after giving birth sees elevated levels of oxytocin, the maternal reproductive hormone, in your system. The level of oxytocin also increases during the golden hour when you and your baby are skin-to-skin.
This leads to a stronger attachment between you and your baby. The high levels of oxytocin also help reduce the level of stress you and your baby experience.
And especially for your newborn, oxytocin facilitates their transition into the world outside your womb. You see, upon birth, your baby has a heightened response to outside stimuli. With skin-to-skin contact, your baby’s alertness is transformed into behaviors that meet basic biological needs.
Keeping you and your baby together also activates neuroprotective mechanisms, brain self-regulation, and reduces infant stress. In real life, this means your baby cries less.
Skin-to-skin contact also promotes the baby’s optimal cardio-respiratory health, stable blood glucose level, and thermal regulation. Your baby early on is already learning how to function well while maintaining a strong bond with you.
Skin-to-skin contact also promotes breastfeeding, which is important if you want your baby to be breastfed.
How can a doula help to keep you and your baby together as much as possible?
We as doulas want only the best childbirth experience and outcome for you and your baby. We are keenly aware of the multitude of benefits of the golden hour and unlimited opportunities for skin-to-skin contact.
That’s why in caring for moms and newborns after delivery, we recommend the following tips in keeping you and your baby together.
1. Carve out space for uninterrupted and unlimited mommy and baby time together.
Things can get overwhelming after the frenzy of delivery. Therefore, unlimited and uninterrupted opportunities for skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby will not happen automatically.
But with the help of a doula, you can work towards consciously carving out a space and set aside time for you and your baby to be together. This may include rooming-in where you and your baby are together in the room.
A doula can be your calm and steady presence. They can help make sure you and your baby immediately reap the physical, emotional, and developmental benefits of skin-to-skin contact during the golden hour and beyond.
2. Include skin-to-skin care and contact in your birth plan.
Make sure that your preference for immediate time together with your baby is clearly spelled out in your birth plan. Hospitals and your medical may have their own protocol or guidelines in the care of your baby after birth. It sometimes runs counter to your desire for maximum mommy and baby time from the golden hour and throughout recovery.
Make sure that you communicate your birth plan to your health provider and medical team. And again with the help of your doula, you can emphasize your desire for uninterrupted and unlimited skin-to-skin contact with your baby.
Barring any unforeseen developments in your or your baby’s health, your doula will be there to operationalize your birth including maximum mommy and baby time.
3. Let your circle of support know about the golden hour.
While we are sure your family and friends will be happy about the birth of your baby, their best wishes and intentions may interfere with you and your newborn’s bonding time.
But not to worry! A doula can help provide support in managing visits from family and friends after birth. This is to make sure that your mommy and baby time is respected, protected, understood, and supported. With the aid of technology, your family and friends can still connect with you and their wishes for you and your baby.
Enhance the quality of your life and your baby post-delivery with a doula.
Childbirth may be the end of your pregnancy journey. But it is also the start of your parenting journey with your little one. And for many years to come, you and your newborn will be each other’s world.
Start off on the right foot in your mommy and baby journey with the help of a doula. Be confident in making decisions with your parenting goals in mind with a reliable and trustworthy ally by your side. As you focus your time and energies on the care of your newborn, you can lean on your doula for informational, physical, and emotional care and support for you and your baby.
If you are interested in getting the services of Northeast Doulas, we would be more than happy to assist you. We have been assisting moms like you for more than 18 years in only the best way possible.
Contact us today. We look forward to seeing and hearing from you!