Every moment between a mother and her new-born baby is important. The first hour after birth when a mother has uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with her new-born is referred to as the “golden hour.” This period of time is critical for a new-born baby who spent the past nine months in a controlled environment. Golder hour is truly the first intimate moments that mother, father and baby will have as a family.
For successful breastfeeding, the first hour after birth is arguably the most important. Newborns who are immediately placed on their mother’s skin have a natural instinct to latch on to the breast and start nursing, typically within one hour of birth. Success with breastfeeding in this “golden hour” increases the likelihood of successful breastfeeding at discharge.
Skin-to-skin mother-baby contact should still occur, even if the baby is born by Caesarean surgery. The baby is placed on the mother in the operating room or the recovery area. If the mother is unable to immediately hold the baby a family member can provide skin-to-skin care until the mother is able. The golden hour helps regulate the baby’s temperature, helps control their respiration and heart rate.
Benefits for baby for breastfeeding in the Golden Hour –
- Stabilized blood sugars – Mother’s contact helps babies stimulate their digestive and nervous systems.
- Lowers rate of infections – Lower rate of ear infections, asthma and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Lowers risk of childhood diseases – Lower risk of developing diabetes, childhood leukemia or childhood obesity.
- Helps remain calm – Skin-to-skin contact in the best way for baby to remain calm, settled and secure
Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother in Golden Hour–
- Lower rate of developing breast and ovarian cancer as well as diabetes.
- Lower risk of postpartum depression.
- Increased milk supply.
- Earlier return to pre-pregnancy weight.
Remember that the ‘golden hour’ is a unique time for you and your baby, which requires a soothing environment, patience and support. Uninterrupted time with your baby soon after birth will help you to better learn your baby’s needs and create a firmer bond.