The Benefits Of The Golden Hour
That moment you get to hold your baby for the first time changes your whole life. From that moment on, this little person needs you to make every decision required for them to grow. But before you move on to everything that needs to be done to raise them, take a moment to indulge in the benefits of the first few hours called ‘golden hour’.
Golden hour has been proven to enhance the babies’ growth, emotions, and bonding between parent and child. More often than not, there is plenty of time available for a parent and child to experience the golden hour after birth. Here’s what we think of it.
What Is the Golden Hour After Birth?
The golden hour after birth is the first hour or more following delivery when parent and baby have undisturbed skin-to-skin contact. When a baby is born, it is immediately placed on its parents for skin-to-skin contact. They are usually kept warm, with a blanket draped over both them and the infant.
If there are no emergencies, the newborn and parent have this undisturbed time to bond. Therefore, cord clamping, weighing, and newborn checks are also delayed during this special time. Birth golden hour can go on for as long as you like if your baby is not experiencing any signs of distress.
During this time, your baby will breastfeed if desired and you may even experience them doing a breast crawl to latch onto your nipple. In addition, golden hour has been found to be very beneficial for regulating the babies’ body temperature and blood sugar levels.
The Benefits Of The Golden Hour
Parents and babies that are allowed a little quality time after labor benefit significantly from this time. The benefits are everlasting as parents who have this time have an easier experience breastfeeding, and babies adapt to being outside the womb more effectively. This doesn’t have to be a bonding moment between just one parent and baby, but the other parent can join in.
We are pro golden hour, therefore we have included a list below of the benefits of after birth golden hour:
1. Assists The Baby In Transitioning Peacefully
Your baby has just spent nine months in your womb, where your body controls the temperature and everything it needs. However, at birth, this all changes. Your baby needs to learn to control its own body temperature and breathing.
When you and your baby have skin-to-skin in the first few hours after delivery, babies are able to regulate their breathing and body temperature. As they adjust to having to support themselves independently, the golden hour enables them to feel safe and at ease in their surroundings.
2. Breastfeeding Happens Naturally
Babies that have not been exposed to medication will naturally crawl to the breast if they are placed on a chest. They will quickly attach themselves to the nipple during the golden hour. If the newborn gets an excellent first feed, this sets the parent and child up for a good breastfeeding journey.
Early breastfeeding is crucial for developing the bond between parent and child and allowing the placenta to be expelled more quickly and readily. In addition, having skin-to-skin contact with your baby will also increase the amount of oxytocin in your body, and increased oxytocin aids in milk production.
3. Encourages Delayed Cord Clamping
Delaying the cord clamping gives babies a few extra minutes to become familiar with life outside the womb before they must start breathing independently. Babies are still able to absorb oxygen and nutrients through the placenta if the umbilical cord is left intact while it is still pulsating.
Skin-to-skin, together with delayed clamping, will help stabilize the newborn’s breathing, making the transition easier. In addition, your baby has the opportunity to obtain essential red blood cells and decrease the likelihood of iron deficiency the longer the umbilical cord is unclamped.
4. Builds Immunity
When newborns are held skin-to-skin, they are immediately exposed to the parent’s bacteria. This intimate moment allows their body to differentiate between good and bad bacteria. Instead of being whisked away and dealing with different hands and environments, their bodies are exposed to just the parent’s bacteria, which builds their immunity.
All factors combined during the golden hour will limit early infections as the baby’s body develops.
5. Forms Bond
Having your baby close to you during that golden hour after birth creates an incredible bond between mother and baby. After delivery, prolonged skin-to-skin contact enables the parent and newborn to enjoy that special moment of getting to know each other.
In the first hour or so after birth, skin-to-skin contact, as well as breastfeeding, helps both the parent and the infant produce oxytocin. “The love hormone,” oxytocin, supports positive emotions like bonding and trust. The release of this hormone during skin-to-skin is also known to reduce the symptoms of postpartum depression.
How To Plan The Golden Hour
You’ve decided that the golden hour after birth is vital to both you and your baby, but how does one ensure it happens? Well, these easy steps will make your desire more attainable.
- Choose a midwife or gynecologist who supports the birth golden hour, as this will make the first part of your birth planning a lot easier.
- Educate yourself on what happens during this time. Read books and articles. Speak to your doula, midwife, and whoever else that will assist you during birth.
- If delaying cord clamping is part of your plan, inform your midwife or doctor.
- Write down your birthing plan and share it with everyone that will be a part of your birthing, even your partner.
- Involve your partner in the process. Get them to help you find relaxing music and candles to create the mood when you’re in labor.
Don’t stress yourself too much if you don’t get your golden hour after birth. There is still plenty of time to bond with your newborn. Emergencies happen, and your babies and your health are most important at that moment.
As soon as you are able to hold your baby, place them on you. You still benefit from skin-to-skin at any time during the first six weeks. If your baby is in the NICU and can’t be held, simply touching different parts of their body, like the hands, cheeks, etc., is a suitable form of skin contact.
With This In Mind
Harnessing the after birth golden is so beneficial to a baby’s growth that many people are opting for this when their newborns arrive. The process encourages many good and positive attributes for both parent and child. If this is something you wholeheartedly want for your birthing experience, speak to your care providers to guide you through it.