We know COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in many plans, especially for expecting parents. And while your stay at the hospital may look a little different than you originally planned, you may be surprised to find some unexpected magic in the midst of the mayhem.
The first hour after the baby arrives is commonly referred to as “The Magic Hour.” This is when the baby is placed immediately onto mom’s bare chest after birth for the two to enjoy skin-to-skin contact. A blanket is draped over them for warmth, and they are allowed to have their first bonding experience. While the baby is lying on mom, dad is encouraged to participate by remaining close and quietly talking to mom and baby.
In normal times, moms are often anxious and feel rushed to finish Magic Hour as quickly as possible to allow family members and visitors to meet the newest addition. However, with limited visitation those pressures are erased and mom and baby are getting guilt-free bonding time that fosters successful breastfeeding.
In fact, Woman’s Hospital has seen a drastic increase in breastfeeding rates over the last two months according to Dana Vidrine, Director Mother/Baby, Lactation, & Transition. “We are seeing rates well above those we saw earlier in the year,” Vidrine said. “Our breastfeeding rates in the months of March and April are 10% higher than those seen in January and February.”
While it is hard to determine what exactly has caused this increase, Woman’s staff thinks limited visitors has a lot to do with it. Patients are not being interrupted during feedings and are better able to focus on lactation teachings without the constant in-and-out of visitors.
“I’ve noticed the mamas have more colostrum at delivery and in general seem to just do better with breastfeeding,” one Mother/Baby Nurse explained. “I think they can actually relax and focus on their baby.”
While a lot of temporary changes have occurred because of COVID-19, we hope that increased breastfeeding rates and prolonged Magic Hours are here to stay.