Bringing Up Baby
Soon after your little bundle of joy has arrived, you will want to start bonding with your baby. The information in this section will equip you to build confidence in caring for your newborn and handle common health issues.
The Sacred Hour
The first hour after birth is a momentous occasion when a baby first adapts to life outside the womb. Skin-to-skin contact at birth is a simple, yet profound interaction which increases the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the baby. The Sacred Hour is uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with the mother immediately after birth that allows each newborn to follow nine specific behaviors leading to breastfeeding. There is evidence which shows that newborns placed skin-to-skin experience less stress and parents show more confidence in caring for their newborn. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity when baby meets parents for the first time and a family is formed. This sacred time should be honored, cherished and protected.
What to Expect
The Sacred Hour will begin immediately after the mother delivers. The mother’s chest will be bare and the baby will be placed on her tummy, dried and covered with a warm blanket allowing the mother and child to experience skin-to-skin contact. The baby will remain with the mother, uninterrupted, until after the first breastfeeding. Mothers are offered this opportunity after vaginal and c-section births. If there is a medical reason that delays immediate skin-to-skin contact with the newborn, The Sacred Hour will begin as soon as possible after assessment from the care team.
Bonding With Your Baby
The initial bond between a mother and infant is very important after delivery. Bonding is essential for a baby and is an important process for all new parents to experience firsthand, including fathers. Infants bond through touch and smell. Participating in skin-to-skin contact with your newborn enhances that bond.
There are many short- and long-term benefits for participating in uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact after birth for parents and baby
When babies are placed skin-to-skin with their mothers, there are nine observable stages of newborn behavior that lead to the first unassisted breastfeeding.
1. The Birth Cry: A distinctive cry that occurs as the baby’s lungs expand for the first time.
2. Relaxation: After the birth cry stops, the mouth and hands become relaxed. The baby is very quiet and still.
3. Awakening: Usually starts around 3 minutes after birth. The baby may open his or her eyes, move his or her head and shoulders and show some mouth activity.
4. Activity: Usually begins around 8 minutes after birth. During this stage, your newborn could:
5. Rest: The Baby may have periods of resting at any point throughout the first hour.
6. Crawling: Usually begins around 35 minutes after birth. The baby will move his or her way to the breast by crawling (sometimes while also sliding, pushing and rooting). The baby may lift their torso or head while moving toward the breast.
7. Familiarization: Usually begins around 45 minutes after birth, lasting around 20 minutes. During this stage, your newborn could:
8. Suckling: About an hour after birth the newborn will usually take the nipple, self-attach and suckle. It may take more time with the baby skin-to-skin to complete the previous stages if the mother has had a c-section, medication for pain or an epidural.
9. Sleep: Baby, and sometimes mother, may fall into a restful sleep about 1 1/2 to 2 hours after birth.