The Golden Hour Birth: 4 Best Practices for Mom And Baby After Birth

Golden Hour Birth

Giving birth is one of the most exciting moments in a mother’s life. 

If you’re preparing to give birth, you’ve likely heard people use the term “golden hour.” This refers to the first hour after birth when the mother and baby bond. 

It’s a special time between the mother and the infant that has a lot of benefits for their relationship and the baby’s adjustment to the world.

Are you wondering why the golden hour is so important after giving birth? You’ve come to the right page. 

Today, we will discuss the golden hour birth and its many benefits for the mother and the baby’s health. Read on to find out more.

What Is The Golden Hour After Birth?

The golden hour refers to the first hour after the baby is born. 

During this time, the mother and baby will have skin-to-skin contact in a relaxing environment. This time should be fully uninterrupted so the infant can get used to the world and spend essential bonding time with the mother.

Before the baby is born, it will already be familiar with the mother’s voice. It may even recognize the father or partner’s voice as well. 

The baby will become familiar with their mother’s eyes during bonding time. However, their vision will still be blurred, so they likely won’t become as familiar with other facial features at this time.

Unless there is a complication, all tasks for the mom and baby will be put off for the first 60 minutes if they require the two to separate. 

This skin-to-skin time with the mother is essential for the infant as they get used to their new surroundings.

It’s important to remember that the baby is overwhelmed. They have just left familiar surroundings in the womb that were safe, warm, and dark.

Bonding with their mother during the golden hour comforts them during this big change. It also helps them feel safe during the transition.

The Golden Hour Birth

Skin-to-skin contact is essential during the golden hour because it helps to promote oxytocin (which is the love hormone). This is a great way to establish a good bond between the baby and the mother.

Research shows this practice can support physiologic stabilization and reduce stress levels between the mother and infant after birth. 

Many hospitals will also encourage this practice, making it easier for the mother and baby to get uninterrupted time together.

Best Practices For The Golden Hour

Are you wondering what will happen during the golden hour? Let’s look at some of the best practices during this time.

1. Skin-To-Skin Contact

As mentioned above, skin-to-skin contact has several benefits during the first hour after birth. 

Once the baby is born, it will be wiped down immediately by the doctor to ensure that you and the baby are comfortable during your skin-to-skin time. After being wiped clean, you will embrace your new bundle of joy.

Skin-to-skin contact can help regulate the baby’s temperature. The baby will feel cold because it was used to living in the warm protection of your womb. 

This contact will provide them with warmth and comfort. However, covering the baby with a light blanket or using a hat to keep it warm is also recommended.

During this time, you can relax and let your newborn baby get used to your skin and voice outside the womb.

2. Delayed Cord Clamping

When your baby is born, it will be attached to an umbilical cord. This cord was its main source for obtaining nutrients in the womb. 

It was a common practice to cut this cord immediately after birth before handing the baby to the mother. However, now medical professionals recommend delaying cord clamping.

Doctors will wait anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes before cutting the umbilical cord. The most common timeframe is between 30 and 60 seconds. 

However, some cultures will wait 5 minutes until the cord has stopped pulsating.

So, what is the benefit of delayed cord clamping? Waiting to clamp the cord allows red blood cells to travel from the placenta to the baby. This can give the baby additional iron, which helps them transition from the womb to the world.

3. Encourage Breastfeeding Early

It’s recommended to establish breastfeeding within the first few minutes of contact. If you do this, the baby will have a more successful breastfeeding journey. 

This comes naturally to most babies. When placed near the breast, they will latch onto the nipple.

Skin-to-skin interaction, in the beginning, allows the baby to become familiar with breastfeeding. This is encouraged because breastfed babies don’t have as many health complications as bottle-fed babies. 

Breastfeeding lowers the risks of:

  • Ear infections
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

When it comes to early breastfeeding, following your baby’s instinct is suggested to help it get used to feeding from you. 

While your baby should be able to latch on naturally and nurse, you must support it’s head with your hands.

4. Routine Medical Procedures

It’s perfectly okay to allow doctors to do routine medical procedures that don’t interrupt your skin-to-skin contact. 

Doctors will likely do the first physical assessment of your baby without having to remove them from your bare chest first. 

They can also tend to your medical needs, such as checking blood pressure and stitching vaginal tears.

Golden Hour Birth

What To Avoid During The Golden Hour

The golden hour after birth is about bonding between the mother and baby. 

There are certain things that you should avoid doing to make sure you get the most from this bonding session.

1. Don’t Separate From The Baby

The most important rule of the golden hour after birth is to not separate from your baby. Your focus should be 100% on your newborn baby. 

You should avoid distractions that can take your attention away from them.

Specific medical procedures will need to be done when your baby is born. However, any procedure that requires your baby to be out of your arms should be put off until after the golden hour. 

It’s also important to ensure your baby has been fed before being separated from you.

2. Avoid Stress

You must stay calm and relaxed when you bond with the baby during the golden hour. Be mindful of what energy you give your baby at this magical time together. 

This should be a relaxing time between you and your baby.

All distractions that can cause you stress at this time should be managed by someone else, such as your partner or a close family member. 

If you have other children, a business to manage, or other causes for concern, you should have a plan for someone else you trust to take care of them.

3. No Visitors

You may have a lot of friends and family members that are excited to celebrate the newborn baby. However, during the first few hours of the baby’s life, it must bond with the mother and father (or partner).

Your partner is welcome during the golden hour after birth. It’s also encouraged that they bond with the baby during the first 2 to 3 hours. But all other immediate family members will need to wait.

Make sure you are clear when you set boundaries about visiting times. 

Your family must understand why you want quiet bonding time during the first hour of your baby’s life. It’s also important for you to let the hospital staff know so they don’t allow uninvited guests to visit during the golden hour.

Benefits Of The Golden Hour

There are many golden hour benefits that new parents should know about. 

Not only is this snuggle time good for the baby, but it also benefits the mother. 

Let’s look at some of the main reasons why the golden hour after birth is encouraged for new mothers:

  • Helps the baby establish instincts for feeding.
  • Encourages good milk supply in the mother.
  • Decrease stress and anxiety levels as the baby is introduced to a calm environment.
  • Steadies the baby’s breathing.
  • Stimulates the brain as the baby gets used to sights, smells, and sounds.
  • Comforts the baby so they cry less.
  • Helps the baby feel secure with the mother and helps the mother feel confident with the baby.
  • Stabilizes the baby’s body temperature.
  • Baby picks up good bacteria from the mother’s chest, reducing the risk of infection later.

Final Words

The golden hour after birth is the first hour of the baby’s life. During this time, it’s recommended that the mother and baby have skin-to-skin contact and bonding time. 

Babies should also be encouraged to feed during this time for successful breastfeeding in the future. Fathers (or partners) should also be present during the golden hour for successful bonding.

Did you realize how important this hour is for your newborn? 

Let us know how you plan to bond with your baby in the comments below.

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