Usually, doctors take a newborn just after the delivery to check on his health and do all the standard procedures: measurements, weighting and washing off the vernix.
In most cases, childbirth is a routine, process that does not take into account the importance of the emotional comfort of a mother and a child. Nevertheless, the situation is changing now and in some clinics doctors let a mother take her child for some minutes after the delivery.
However, ideally, a woman should spend the first “golden hour” after giving birth in close contact with the baby.
What Is the Golden Hour?
The “golden hour” is the first 60 minutes after giving birth. A mother and a baby meet each other for the first time, sniff each other and establish contact. It means that the child is not taken away from the mother to clean, weigh and measure. A mother holds her newborn skin-to-skin.
Why Is the Golden Hour Important?
- The World Health Organization claims that the contact of a mother and a newborn during the golden hour helps to reduce the level of stress in a child. Skin-to-skin contact helps to stabilize the baby’s breathing and heartbeat. Besides, it contributes to the establishment of a good emotional contact between a mother and a child, so they can interact better.
- La Leche League Canada highlight that first skin-to-skin care contributes to the production of prolactin. Prolactin is the main hormone that ensures good secretion of milk in nursing mothers. Prolactin is secreted to prepare the body for the next feeding. The more hormone is produced, the more milk can be offered to a newborn.
- An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and a nurse, Jeannette T. Crenshaw proves in her research published in The Journal of Perinatal Education that early skin-to-skin contact is an effective strategy to promote good breastfeeding. This contact of a mother and a child helps to “awaken” breastfeeding reflexes in a child and make nursing easier. Independent search and attachment to the source of colostrum help to improve the quality of latch. It also contributes to the rapid establishment of breastfeeding.
- Mothers who spend the first hour after giving birth in close contact with the baby respond better and faster to the demands of their baby. As a result, they demonstrate a stronger emotional bond with the child.
As you can see, there are significant benefits of early and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact. The golden hour spent properly can make the following life with a newborn much easier.