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Information and inspiration for parents and caregivers of babies, toddlers and preschoolers

The golden hour

Skin to skin for mother and baby

Skin-to-skin contact is vital for the overall well-being of the newborn, the successfulness of breastfeeding, and the bond between a mother and a child.

Let’s talk about the best first day ever. Actually, make that the best first hour ever. Forty-one weeks of pregnancy (he made us wait an extra week!) followed by a relatively-quick labor brought us to the big moment: our sweet baby boy was born.

The delivery room nurses immediately placed his tiny, crying body on my bare chest with a cloth blanket on top to keep him warm. His crying stopped and I just held him there, feeling his beating heart and tiny body rise and fall with each breath.

I nuzzled him close during what is known as ‘the golden hour,’ the first hour after birth. I was in another world and everything else seemed to fade away while I gazed at my newborn boy, drinking in every detail of him. I was jarred back into reality for a moment when he pooped all over me, but even that felt somehow like a sweet milestone. After a quick clean up, the nurses put him right back into my arms.

With a little help, I was able to successfully breastfeed during that golden hour of skin-to-skin time, which not only provided a tender bonding moment for us, but was a huge confidence boost for me as a mom.

My doctors and nurses understood the value of having skin-to-skin time immediately after my baby was born. Mandy Asolas, clinical nurse manager of Banner Health’s Women Infant Services, later affirmed the power of that first hour of contact. Skin-to-skin is vital for the overall well-being of the newborn, the successfulness of breastfeeding, and the bond between a mother and a child. Skin-to-skin also has several health benefits for the baby such as regulating temperature, decreasing respiratory distress and less crying in the baby, which leads to a less stressful environment.”

It’s pretty incredible to think that such a quiet, simple act of connection could produce such profound advantages for my newborn baby, helping him transition to the outside world, and for me, transitioning into the role of motherhood.

Things to do on baby's first day

More Benefits of Skin-to-Skin Time for Babies:

  • Are generally happier, calmer and cry less
  • Stay warmer
  • Have higher blood sugar levels
  • Are protected by some of your good bacteria
  • Have more stable heart, respiratory and oxygen rates
  • Breastfeed better, which helps them be healthier

 

More Benefits of Skin-to-Skin Time for Mothers:

  • Bond more quickly with your baby
  • Gain confidence and satisfaction from caring for your baby
  • Learn when your baby is getting hungry
  • Breastfeed more easily and make more breast milk

Bethany Cone is communications coordinator at First Things First.

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