As a first time expecting mother, how do you picture your first couple of hours after birth?
Your baby - wrapped in soft pastel colored muslin cooing in a swing in a hospital room full of anxious relatives and yourself lying down on your bed listening to wisdom from relatives? If yes – read on.
Most mothers think of this as the usual postpartum routine. Some hospitals even keep the baby and mother in separate rooms so the mother can get time to “heal” and bring the baby at regular intervals to feed. Many of these mothers are told that they’re not making sufficient breastmilk and the baby must now be given formula. What medical staff forget to tell you is the importance of the first one hour after birth in establishing a successful breastfeeding relationship. Therefore it is very important to be your own advocate and educate yourself on the benefits of breastfeeding and the golden hour.
Golden Hour is the first one hour after a baby’s birth – in which she must be placed tummy down in skin-to-skin contact with the mother. A warm blanket may be placed over them to keep the mother warm. This releases hormones essential for breastfeeding and bonding. When allowed to rest uninterrupted on their mother’s chest, babies also learn to crawl to the breast and attach themselves, reducing the need for a caregiver’s assistance in latching.
Uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact for at least an hour shortly after birth also increases likelihood of being able to continue exclusive breastfeeding for the first four months. Breastmilk – also termed as liquid gold – contains all the nutrients an infant needs in the first six months of life. Breastfeeding your child protects them against common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia. Breastfed babies also have lower rates of ear infections, asthma and diabetes. Mothers who nurse their babies also lower their risks of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and diabetes.
As per the WHO, in addition to the obvious benefits of receiving breastmilk, babies that are placed skin-to-skin soon also cry less and interact more with their mothers. It has been seen that babies who have been left skin-to-skin with their mothers for the first hour can regulate their temperature and respiration better. A child who is born after an emergency cesarean section can also get the benefits of the golden hour if she is moved to the mother’s chest as soon as she is stabilized.
A better understanding of an uninterrupted first hour after birth can help you make an informed choice. Speak with your birth center and caregivers today about your birth plan. You and your baby deserve the chance to experience your golden hour.
An uninterrupted first hour of birth is very important for both the mother and baby. The benefits of golden hour are innumerable. You can read more about it in the links below: