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You & Your Baby After Birth

Posted by on Jun. 3, 2010 at 11:53 AM
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Originally from :

In the first hours after your baby is born, skin to skin contact, and keeping the mother with the baby at all times is something hospitals, and parents should be practicing everywhere. Unfortunately it is not as common as it should be, especially in U.S. hospitals.

I have been using a lot of the Mothers Advocate videos lately, and I wanted to share another on this healthy birth practice which fits into the 6 healthy birth practices of Lamaze. I think a blog post with a short video, or picture is always more appealing to readers, right? Haha!

But why is it so important that we keep our babies with us and have skin to skin contact with our newborns in the first hours after birth?  In the first hours and moments after a baby is born, they are going through an amazing transition into a whole new world. From the safety and space of your womb to a big new world with bright lights, noises, and new people.

Some of the new activities your babies is learning is how to breathe air, suck, swallow, and regulate their own temperature outside of the womb. Doesn’t sound like it is a lot for them to do, but it is.  As mothers we should want to make this transition for our babies as easy as possible.

So what are the benefits of having skin to skin contact after a baby is born?

  • Babies who have the skin to skin contact cry less
  • Have more stable temperatures
  • Have more stable blood sugars (which the lack of skin to skin contact with my second son, because of my cesarean made a change in his blood sugar which resulted in a 30 hour NICU stay.
  • These babies breastfeed sooner, longer, and much more easily.
  • The babies are being exposed to normal bacterias on the mother, which can protect them from getting sick from unhealthy, or other types of bacteria, especially if birthing in a hospital.
  • And they have lower levels of stress hormones.

These are all big plus’s for mothers right?

But what about my sleep? Why can’t I just send the baby to the nursery for the night and rest up till I get home, then I can do this whole skin to skin thing right?

Wrong!  Studies show that mothers who give birth in a hospital and have their babies room in, get just as much sleep as those mothers who are sending their babies off to the nursery for the night.  These same studies have shown the babies who went to the nursery often have more issues breastfeeding, making the breastfeeding relationship between mother and baby much more difficult.

But what if my hospital doesn’t allow this?

If your hospital cannot bend to accommodate a mothers wishes, especially something as simple as skin to skin contact after birth, or postponing most newborn evaluations, look for a new hospital that is more mother and baby friendly. It is never too late to change the birth venue.

For more information on Skin to Skin contact and why it is so important for newborns, check out the Mother’s Advocate handout.

by on Jun. 3, 2010 at 11:53 AM
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