As a mother, it is extremely important for you to know that the way your newborn is nurtured and cared for right after birth can have a significantly impact on his transition from the womb to life outside in the world. Even with all the benefits that immediate skin-on-skin contact with their mothers has to offer, the fact of the matter is that the culture we live in deems it necessary for babies to be taken away from their mothers right away for routine procedures like measuring, cleaning, and weighing etc. Because of these routine procedures, a majority of babies miss out on this crucial time of being with their mothers and it can have both short and long term consequences for both the mother and the baby.
Considering that the procedures performed right after the birth of a baby are not as necessary for the maintenance or the enhancement of either mother or baby, there is good reason for them to be delayed. The first hour after delivery needs to be focused solely on her first breastfeed together with mother-baby bonding. Unless the mother or her baby are in immediate need of medical assistance, it is recommended by experts for hospitals and doctors to let the baby remain alone with her mother in the first hour.
Upon being delivered, experts suggest that a baby should immediately be placed tummy down on her mother’s stomach. To keep them warm, the only thing needed is for a blanket to be placed on them. The mother’s needs during this time are rather simple and revolve around having a calm and quiet environment. For those whose want to know about the benefits of skin-on-skin contact right after birth, here are 7 reasons why babies should be left undisturbed with their mothers in the first hour after delivery:
7 It will help your baby lead the initiation of breastfeeding
It is fairly normal these days for hospital staff to want your baby to get started with breastfeeding within the first hour of being delivered. The reason for this is that early initiation of breastfeeding has several benefits to offer. To begin with, early feeding has the potential to increase mother-baby bonding and attachment as it helps them ‘connect’ with each other. However, a major benefit that the early initiation of breastfeeding offers and has been acknowledged by experts is that it assists in expelling the placenta more easily and quickly, thereby reducing the risks that a woman faces of experiencing postpartum hemorrhage.
These days, it is rather common for caregivers to assist the baby in lacking onto the nipple, but honestly speaking, this is one of the most unnecessary procedures that are practiced in most cases today. In a majority of cases, when babies who haven’t had any exposure to medications are placed skin to skin with their mothers right after birth, and left there undisturbed for the first hour will instinctually crawl to their mother’s breast and attach themselves to the nipple – it’s all so natural for babies and doesn’t really require any assistance. So in order to let mom and baby connect, and for the baby to initiate breastfeeding, it is highly recommended for the mother and her newborn to be left alone undisturbed for the first hour right after birth.
The breast crawl
Just so you know, when a baby instinctually attaches herself to her mother’s nipple, the act itself is known as the ‘breast crawl’. It was back in the 1980s that this was first observed by Swedish researchers. Later on, it was acknowledged that babies are born with an instinct that assists them in finding their mother’s nipples like newborn mammals.
6 It helps in regulating the baby’s body system
Babies who are allowed to have at least an hour’s worth of skin on skin contact with their mother’s right after delivery have better ability to regulate their respiration and temperature. Just so you know, newborn babies are not able to adjust their body temperatures as older children can, considering that their little bodies don’t have the same levels of insulating fat. Remember, for the past nine months, newborns have spent all their time in an environment that is what you can call ‘100% temperature controlled’. For this reason, when they lose way too much heat, it becomes necessary for them to utilize excessive amounts of energy and oxygen in order to stabilize their body temperature.
There also remains the fact that staying undisturbed with their mother’s in the first hour after delivery assists babies in reducing the risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). Just so you know, newborns have the ability to produce glucose from the energy stored in their body till the time that they can breastfeed well. The chances of breastfeeding properly tend to increase when babies are allowed to have skin on skin contact with their mother’s right after birth.
Skin-on-skin contact can prove ‘maturational’
That’s right. Research studies have shown that skin-on-skin contact with their mother’s immediately after birth proves to be rather maturational for newborn babies. From what is known, this contact stimulates the vagal nerve, which in turn increases the size of the villi found in the newborn gut. This way, newborns end up having a larger surface area, thereby allowing proper absorption of nutrition.
5 It promotes delayed cord clamping
For those who don’t know, the practice of delayed cord clamping has plenty of benefits to offer to the newborn. When you leave the umbilical cord intact while it continues to pulsate, it basically allows for the baby to still receive oxygen from her mother through the placenta. This basically gives the newborn a bit of time to adjust to breathing by means of their lungs. By maintaining skin to skin contact with their mothers, babies acquire the ability to stabilize their respiration. This also means that leaving their cord intact will assist them in receiving vital red blood cells and reduces the risk of iron deficiency anemia.
The thing with delayed cord clamping is that it promotes leaving the umbilical cord intact till the time that it stops pulsating or until after the placenta is delivered. The immense benefits that this practice has to offer has made plenty of parents opt for it.
Increased blood volume
Research shows that allowing skin on skin contact between a mother and her newborn while leaving the cord intact makes it possible for the baby to acquire nearly 30% more of the placental blood volume than he would have incase the cord was clamped immediately. Just so you know, after the birth of your baby, the placenta and cord will continue to contain nearly a third of your baby’s blood, whereas the remaining of it will be present in her precious body. On the whole, the basic notion behind delayed cord clamping is that of making the baby’s transition from womb to the outside world easier and smoother.
4 It enhances your chances of successfully breastfeeding your baby
Babies who are allowed to have early skin to skin contact with their mothers are believed to have much better chances at succeeding in terms of breastfeeding initiation and duration. This particular aspect holds most prevalence in countries like the USA, UK and Australia etc. where breastfeeding rates typically tend to drop a few months after birth as mothers return to work. In order to achieve optimal health, growth and development, it is highly recommended for mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies for at least six months.
In order to promote longer durations of breastfeeding for most women, it is extremely important for the right conditions pertaining to the initiation of breastfeeding to be created. In this regard, babies who are left alone, undisturbed with their mothers right after delivery are believed to have the potential to succeed much better, and much quickly at breastfeeding. To be honest, the benefits of initiating immediate skin on skin contact with your baby after birth are plenty. To make the most of these benefits, such as increasing your chances of succeeding at breastfeeding, it is highly recommended for you to have at least an hour’s worth of undisturbed time your baby.
Better tongue positioning
If your baby is left with you undisturbed in the first hour after birth, experts suggest that she will be able to achieve better tongue positioning when latching as she will ‘self-attach’ to your nipple. This way, your chances of breastfeeding your baby easily in the long-term will also increase with lesser problems for you to deal with in the long-term.
3 It promotes attachment between mother and baby
Skin to skin contact between mother and baby right after birth has the potential to help them both get to know each other and further the bond they share. Research shows that mothers who get to have a bit of skin on skin time with their babies as soon as they get delivered feel far more comfortable and confident in meeting their newborns’ needs as compared to those whose babies got taken away right after birth. Attachment holds utmost importance for newborn survival and for mothers who are more so ‘hard wired’ in terms of taking care of their babies.
During pregnancy, the levels of a hormone known as oxytocin are rather high in a woman. This hormone and its receptors basically promote maternal behavior, and its increased amount plays a vital role in helping mothers bond with their newborns. The amount of this hormone is particularly high when a woman breastfeeds her baby and holds her newborn close skin to skin. Researchers have even gone on to suggest that mothers who get to have early skin to skin contact with their babies have an increased chance of exhibiting bonding behavior with their children later in life including positive speaking, holding and kissing etc.
Short and long-term consequences
The manner in which you welcome your baby into the world can have both short and long-term consequences. Mothers who hold their babies right away have been found to indicate lesser stress. For the baby, it has the added benefit of being able to connect with you and feel even more attached.
2 Your baby will remain protected against the effects of separation
It is believed that babies are born ready to interact with their mothers. As studies suggest, newborns who have not been exposed to medication right after delivery are extremely alert and interact with their mothers by gazing at their faces. This basically helps babies recognize their mothers’ smell, sound and the touch of her skin. It is truly a work of wonder as to how intent babies are at birth upon interacting with their mothers and their desire to recognize mommy dearest amidst all other people.
For the well-being of the baby, it is highly recommended for her to be left with her mother right after birth. This particular act is believed to be key to a baby’s survival and separating her from her mother can prove to be threatening to her overall well-being. You need to bear in mind the basic fact that babies are born with a mammal’s primal instinct that urges them to stay safe the habitat of her mother. This allows the baby to acquire nourishment, safety and warmth all at the same time. It is for this reason that babies tend to protest loudly by crying the moment they are separated from their mothers – their crying is a means of drawing mom’s attention to the distress they are facing due to separation.
Cold turkey withdrawal
It is said that babies who are separated from the stimulation of their mother’s body experienced what can be called a cold turkey withdrawal. If they are not allowed to reunite with their mothers immediately, they face despair and give up by going still and quiet. So in order to make your child feel safe, make sure that you spend time bonding with her right after birth.
1 It gives a natural boost to your baby’s immunity
I literally marvel the benefits that skin to skin contact between mother and baby right after birth
has to offer. The thing with babies is that upon delivery, they come from an environment that is nearly 100% sterile. Yes, the environment in the uterus is near-sterile and babies are seeded by their mother’s bacteria. What this does is that it gives a kick start to their immune system to make it possible for their little bodies to fight off infections. This even makes it possible for babies to gain protection against diseases in the future. On the whole, this process is meant to help the baby’s cells understand the basic difference between good and bad bacteria, thereby helping them stay protected against infections.
If you go through a bit of research, you will find that babies who are now allowed to the exposed to their mother’s bacteria, either because they did not have a vaginal birth, were not breastfed or were not allowed to have skin on skin contact with their mother do not have an immune system that has reached its full potential. This can prove rather detrimental in the long run considering that this has the potential to increase her chances of contracting a disease in the future.
Enhance your baby’s immune system
If you truly want your baby’s immune system to reach its full potential so that she can be protected against diseases and infections in times to come, then it is best for you to maintain immediate skin to skin contact with her after delivery and initiate breastfeeding as early as possible.