What happens when infants are placed skin to skin following delivery? The newborn’s vital signs such as temperature, breathing, heart rate and blood sugar levels all stabilize. This allows the mother and baby to relax. Also, bonding is improved with skin to skin contact. Babies cry less and are able to hear their mother’s heartbeat, which is a very familiar sound to them. Did you know that the mother’s body temperature will increase if her baby’s temperature is too low? And of course, breastfeeding occurs more readily and frequently when skin to skin is performed.
Placing infants that are healthy and at term gestation immediately on their mother’s skin following delivery is currently recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Evidence-based research suggests a safer and healthier transition to life outside the womb when infants remain skin to skin at least for the first hour or more following birth.
It is important that mothers and infants be allowed quiet, private time to bond, recover and rest from delivery. As part of the Baby Friendly initiative NARMC upholds, we routinely practice skin to skin after birth. With respect to the magical hour, the nurses will wait until the mother and baby has completed the first feeding to weigh and measure the baby, along with administer any vaccinations or complete any footprints as long as the infant is stable. Vital signs will be taken while the baby is on its mother’s chest. This helps to establish better breastfeeding, as the infant is not stressed and is not removed from the mother until a feeding occurs.
Dads- don’t worry about feeling left out during this magical hour. While it is very important that dads bond with their infants as well, the infant needs to stay with its mother during this time. The newborn thinks mom and itself are a single body since it has been that way for the past 40 weeks. This is your time to watch in awe of the miracle you have created, and see the infant’s natural instincts as it crawls to the breast and attempts its first latch. Your role is to be there to support the mother and get her anything she may need. After the magical hour is complete, we will make sure dads have plenty of time to hold and bond with the new baby while mom is taken care of and gets rest.
If you know someone participating in skin to skin following delivery please be kind and wait to visit or call until after skin to skin magical hour is complete.