The first hour after birth, sometimes called the “Golden Hour,” is when a mother has uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with her newborn. It is an important time for the transition of the baby to life outside the womb. Many studies show the following benefits of skin-to-skin:
- Regulates baby’s temperature, heart rate and breathing
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels
- Baby may breastfeed better and longer
- Hormones released help increase mom’s milk supply
- Exposes baby’s gut to healthy bacteria that boosts their immune system
- Babies are calmer, sleep better and cry less
- Creates a strong bond between parents and newborn.
When the baby is born, the nurse will dry the baby and place the baby chest to chest on the mother’s bare skin covering both with a warm blanket. We recommend staying skin-to-skin for at least one hour or until after the first feeding. Some babies will actually crawl to find the breast and latch on their own. Skin-to-skin benefits all mothers and babies whether you are planning to breastfeed or not.
Skin-to-skin contact is not just for the hour after birth. When establishing breastfeeding in the early days, it is the first step to help babies learn to nurse. Partners can bond skin-to-skin with their babies as well. It is recommended anytime during the postpartum period, but is especially helpful in the first three months, also called the 4th trimester. Keeping your baby close is good for you and good for baby!