The Golden Hour

You might know what the ‘Golden Hour’ is in the context of medicine(that critical time when getting treatment or medicine on board will have more benefits and potentially save a life)….many of our clients and students speak this language fluently. But, do you know what the golden hour after birth is? Well, let’s hear this straight from your very experienced postpartum doula team:

After all the prepping for labor and delivery that you’ve done…all the books you read, all the classes you took and the videos you watched online…are you really prepared for what happens AFTER the baby is born? 

What about Postpartum?

You’re basking in the glow of your newborn baby….moments after they arrive, you’re counting fingers and toes. You’re thrilled to take a breath after delivery and just stare at your beautiful little miracle. As you begin to bond with your baby, you’re entering what experts call ‘The Golden Hour’ after birth. This is a vital time when your brand-new infant should be placed skin-to-skin on your chest, and they should not be taken from you. This period is a critical bonding time as well as an opportunity for the infant to adjust and regulate their own temperature, respirations, heart rate and all functions of the autonomic nervous system. This critical hour (which actually is normally closer to 2 hours) is a time that your baby learns how to survive outside of the womb. Being held, skin-to-skin, can ensure that your baby doesn’t lose any additional body heat. Many of the hospital procedures such as weighing, vaccinations and PKU testing, can all safely wait that full hour while the birthing person and the newborn baby snuggle and bond for the first time. There is so much peer reviewed research into the benefits of immediate skin-to-skin after birth, for both the birthing person and the infant. This postpartum time period is vital for the birthing person’s recovery including reducing blood pressure and increasing oxytocin (the love hormone!). That love hormone is also the way you will connect with your baby through the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding, if you have them. And here’s a hint, if you do have them, get yourself a postpartum doula for support!

Help establish breastfeeding?

If left to, infants will actually crawl to the breast due to the smell of colostrum and the biological imperative to find food. To watch this in action, is truly a miraculous site. Your baby has known your specific scent for many months, and they will be driven to find it (at the breast). This is the golden time of mastering the ABC’s of breastfeeding! Attachment, Breast milk production and Calories. You will want to make sure that you expose your baby to as much of that first milk you make while it’s easily available for them- for a strong, fruitful nursing relationship. A strong description of what were referring to can be found here:

So many benefits to baby and the person giving birth

There are so many benefits of this golden hour including beginning that first breastfeeding session, keeping baby skin-to-skin to trigger thermogenesis and all that love-hormone production! Ensuring the success of this immediate postpartum period-for both preterm and full term infants, is really critical for the transition from birthing person to parent as well as from womb to the world. While western medicine is starting to understand the importance of this period, it really is up to us as parents to do everything we can to ensure this uninterrupted time immediately after delivery. The Golden Hour is the best time to establish that first attempt at breastfeeding while you bond with your baby!

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