You did it! You just had your baby and it was the most amazing thing you have ever experienced.
Now the moment you’ve been waiting for is here and they hand you your sweet baby. There really is nothing like it in the world.
The feelings physically and mentally are completely overwhelming and if you’re like me you will just cry for joy.
From your baby’s point of view, she just experienced the biggest event of her life thus far as well.
And all she wants is mama.
So what happens next and how can you make the most of it? This is what I want to talk about with you today.
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The First Hour After Birth | How To Make The Most Of It
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An Undisturbed Hour Should Be The Goal
In the past, mother-child bonding often took a back seat to medical procedures immediately following a baby’s birth.
The baby would be passed from person to person before it finally reached mother’s arms.
They would bathe and weigh the baby, give it vitamin K drops and so on. Then they would swaddle the baby where he couldn’t even really move and hand him over.
This is not optimal for baby’s development in any way.
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So What Should Come Next?
The first hour should be focused on baby’s first breastfeed and mother-baby and family bonding.
The baby should be placed on the mother skin to skin so he can make his way up to the breast naturally and attempt his first breastfeeding session.
There are nine stages right after birth that occur during this time and they are as follows:
- The Birth Cry is the first stage. Your baby will cry immediately after birth and his lungs will expand
- Once the baby stops crying the relaxation stage begins. The baby will relax his limbs for a moment and just rest
- The third stage is when the baby becomes more aware and begins to look around, moving the head and shoulders and he may move his mouth in a sucking motion
- The activity stage happens 8 to 10 minutes after birth and he begins to make more sucking motions with his mouth and he may demonstrate a rooting reflex
- Then the baby may rest more. He may rest in between any stage
- Then the baby will start the crawling stage where he finally starts making his way towards the breast
- The seventh stage is called familiarization. During this stage, the newborn becomes acquainted with the mother by licking the nipple and touching and massaging her breast
- After the baby has attempted nursing he may fall asleep. Sleeping usually occurs about 2 hours after birth
These stages should be accomplished in a natural way without interruption.
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Babies don’t want to be bathed and be handled by strangers right after birth. This is a stressful time and they want to relax and become acquainted face to face with their mama.
All mammals are like this. They all crawl towards mama and then attempt nursing. It’s natural and it’s what should always occur after the birth of our babies.
How Breastfeeding Right After Birth Helps
Skin-to-skin contact as well as the baby’s suckling at the breast release hormones that help the mother connect to her child and cause the uterus to contract and stop bleeding.
Research has also shown that nursing within the first hour of life improves infant survival rates and makes it more likely that a mother will continue to breastfeed longer.
Babies that are skin to skin are better able to regulate their body temperature and respiration. Newborns don’t have the fat to do this as well as older humans so this is very helpful.
Being with mama also reduces the risks of Low Blood Sugar ( hypoglycemia ).
You can let the hospital know that all this is very important to you by creating a birth plan. You can find a free birth plan template to download right here and that way everyone will be on the same page and know your expectations.
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What Else Happens During The First Hour
Spending time with mama helps promote a healthy attachment between you and baby.
Oxytocin receptors in a woman’s brain increase during pregnancy, so when your babe is born, you will feel a strong love and attachment to her.
Oxytocin is also produced in large amounts when breastfeeding and holding babies close so this makes these feelings of bonding for both you and her even stronger.
Mothers who have these bonding experiences with their baby feel more confident and comfortable mothering later on.
Different Circumstances During Emergencies And C-Sections
Sometimes things don’t work out as planned.
If a baby needs medical attention or extra stimulation to start breathing, the child can be moved from the exam table to the mother’s chest as soon as the baby is stabilized.
If you need a C-Section, after a quick assessment, the baby can be moved to the mother’s chest while the obstetrician finishes taking care of you.
At this point, the baby can stay at her mother’s side until she is settled into the recovery room and ready to nurse.
So even during these circumstances, you can spend most of the first-hour bonding and creating the best possible situation for your baby. You may just be delayed by a few minutes.
The first hour is such an important time for you and your baby, so make the most out of it.
Your baby is stressed right after birth and there’s no need to make it worse by allowing the baby to be passed around for procedures that can wait a couple of hours.
Make it clear to the staff what you expect with your birthing plan so that you can do what’s best for your baby.
You’ll both enjoy the experience this way so much more.
Best of luck to you and your baby!
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