Here are three things I tell all my new moms to do with their babies following the birth. If you're having your baby in a hospital and any of this resonates with you, make sure you add these to your birth plan and let the staff know your wishes.
1. Delay umbilical cord clamping.
Delayed cord clamping means waiting 2-3 minutes after the delivery of your baby to clamp and cut the cord. The cord takes around three full minutes to fully stop pulsing, and during that time the remaining blood in the placenta and cord is intended for the baby's own blood supply. Delayed clamping provides a new baby with extra oxygen, allows more blood flow from the placenta and gives the baby extra iron.
2. Use skin-to-skin contact.
For nine full months your baby has been developing in protective and peaceful sanctuary within your womb. Coming into the world can be a bit of a shock. To make the transition easier for your little one, I always suggest immediate skin-to-skin contact for the first hour or two after birth if possible, and as often as you can for the weeks to follow. Skin-to-skin contact should be done with no barriers between you and your baby. If the mother is unavailable, the fathers chest is the next best place for your baby to be. Placing your baby on your partner's bare chest will also help with the daddy-baby bond.
Why practice skin-to-skin contact?
- It helps stabilize the baby’s body temperature.
- It stabilizes the baby’s heart rate.
- It normalizes the baby’s breathing patterns.
- The baby will have lower levels of stress hormones.
- The baby hears mommy’s heartbeat, which is familiar to them and provides comfort.
- The baby is exposed to natural bacteria from the mother, which helps prevent her from getting sick.
- Contact increases the bonding process between mother and baby.
- The baby is more likely to latch on right away, feed longer and more easily.
3. Wait at least 24 hours before washing the baby.
Babies are born covered in a slimy, milky protective substance called vernix. Vernix has tons of great healing properties, acts as a deep moisturizer, helps regulate body temperature, is a skin cleaner, and carries antibacterial properties. This magical substance needs time to be fully absorbed into the skin. Don't wipe it off your baby, and wait at least 24 hours after birth before giving your baby a bath.
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