Quality time is important for mothers and their newborns, especially during those magical moments after birth. The first hour after birth when a mother has uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with her newborn is referred to as the “golden hour.” This period of time is an integral factor in a mother’s breastfeeding journey if she chooses to do so.
Skin-to-skin contact can promote strong bonds between mothers and babies and research shows that babies who have had the benefit of skin-to-skin breastfeed better. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all mothers who want to breastfeed spend time skin-to-skin right after birth with their baby.
“Ideally, we don’t want any separation from mom and baby,” shares Wellstone’s Erin Jeanes, FNP, IBCLC. “As soon as we ensure the baby is stable and well, we put mom and baby directly skin-to-skin together and usually within each hour of life, the infant will attempt to latch on the breast themselves.”
By attaching themselves to the nipples on their own, a baby is more likely to breastfeed exclusively and breastfeed for longer durations. Breastfeeding early on can also speed up the delivery of the placenta, reducing the risk of postpartum hemorrhage (also called PPH).
Skin-to-skin contact is even recommended outside of the delivery room walls.
Jeanes best piece of advice for moms is to never underestimate the power of skin-to-skin contact with baby, even after that initial “golden hour.”
“If I’m talking to a mom over the phone and she is having difficulty breastfeeding and I can’t lay eyes on her or help her right then, I always tell her to get skin-to-skin with baby. Mom should have her chest exposed with no bra and no tank top. Place the infant on your chest between the breasts where you are directly skin-to-skin,” states Jeanes.
The “golden hour” is respected and valued by the staff at Seton Medical Center Harker Heights. Speak to your doctor about your expectations and how you would like to spend the minutes after birth with your little one. If you are interested in joining our Breastfeeding Support Group, click here