Having a baby today is drastically different than it was even a generation ago. Not so long ago, babies were delivered, shown to mom, and then quickly taken away to the warmer. Soon after, baby’s eyes were covered with antibiotics, shots administered, and then he was weighed, measured, wrapped up tight and handed off to dad, then grandma, and other close by family members, sometimes before mom even got to hold her new bundle of joy.
Today, we know that the first hour after baby arrives is very important. After baby is born, he is placed immediately onto mom’s bare chest for the two to enjoy skin-to-skin contact. A blanket is draped over them for warmth, and they are allowed to say their first hellos and get to know each other. Common procedures aren’t necessary to maintain or enhance the wellbeing of either mom or baby, so they are delayed until after Magic Hour is complete. While baby is lying on mom, dad is encouraged to participate by remaining close and quietly talking to mom and baby. We also encourage mom to delay visitors until Magic Hour is finished and she is rested and comfortable. We know that family members are anxious to meet the new baby, but they’ve already waited nine months… another hour won’t hurt! Family will have plenty of time to hold and love the baby later.
Prior to giving birth, it’s a good idea to communicate your birth plan with your loved ones. Make sure you explain the benefits of Magic Hour and they’re aware of your wishes to enjoy it. Here are a few talking points that may help them understand the importance of their waiting:
- Body System Regulation: The first hour after birth is a major transition for baby from the womb to the outside world. Allowing baby to lie skin-to-skin on mom will help the baby be able to regulate their temperature and respiration.
- Promotes Delayed Cord Clamping: Leaving the umbilical cord intact will allow baby to receive oxygen via the placenta, while adjusting to breathing through his lungs. Being skin-to-skin helps baby stabilize his respirations, while the cord continues to provide vital red blood cells that can help to reduce iron deficiency.
- Improves Breastfeeding Success Rates: Breastfeeding initiation and duration is likely to be more successful when baby experiences immediate skin-to-skin contact. When baby is left to explore and self attach, there is usually a better chance of proper tongue positioning and overall success. This is also beneficial to mom as she experiences more ease and fewer initial problems when trying to breastfeed.
- Promotes Mother-Baby Attachment: Extended skin-to-skin contact after birth allows mom and baby to get to know each other. Moms who experience Magic Hour are more likely to feel confident and comfortable in their abilities to meet the needs of their new baby. Moms who experience prolonged skin-to-skin contact are also more likely to demonstrate bonding behaviors later on in the child’s life, such as kissing, holding, positive speaking and so on.
- Boost Baby’s Immunity: Immediate skin-to-skin contact and early breastfeeding is an excellent way to help increase baby’s exposure to the new world. Once baby has left his near-sterile environment inside the uterus, skin-to-skin contact with mom helps boost baby’s immune system by exposing him to mom’s bacteria, which can help increase baby’s ability to fight off future illnesses.