From the moment you find out you are pregnant, you wonder and visualize when you will welcome your baby into the world. During your pregnancy you will be bombarded with advice (and other birth stories). Others share words of wisdom and experiences with the best of intentions. But, how do you know what is best for you and your baby? Well, that is where science and research lends a helping hand. The more studies and research conducted, the more we learn about best practices for keeping babies healthy and thriving. Healthcare professionals take this research and put it into practice.
Bonding with your newborn skin to skin immediately after birth has very important health benefits behind the practice. Most hospitals today practice skin to skin bonding immediately after birth. Unfortunately, cesarean section babies and mothers often miss out on this important opportunity. Many healthcare professionals are advocating for the same immediate skin to skin bonding after cesarean deliveries.
So why is it so important?
Health care professionals call the first hour after birth the "Golden Hour" or "Sacred Hour".
Raylene Phillips, IBCLC, FAAP of Loma Linda Children's Hospital describes the following as the five benefits of early postpartum skin to skin contact in her article The Sacred Hour: Uninterrupted Skin-to-Skin Contact Immediately After Birth
Improves physiologic stability for both mother and baby
Increases maternal attachment behaviors
Protects baby from negative effects of separation
Supports optimal infant brain development
Increases breastfeeding rates and duration