Uninterrupted Skin to Skin Contact With Your Child
It's a mother's right to have uninterrupted skin to skin contact with her child after delivery, assuming there are no immediate complications or issues with the newborn's health. It is beneficial to the child as well. Be sure to express your desire for this uninterrupted time for at least the first hour after birth and ensure that the nursing staff will comply with your wishes, assuming both mother and baby are healthy.
Will the nursing staff respect my desire to have uninterrupted skin to skin contact with my child on my chest after birth( assuming there is no need for resuscitation) for one hour before the baby is taken to the warmer or nursery?
That first crucial hour of skin to skin bonding between mother and baby have numerous benefits: immediately after birth the newborn is alert and primed to actively participate in the emotional bonding mediated by the physiological flow of oxytocin, the “love hormone.” Immediately after birth the infant is also primed to search for the nipple and begin spontaneous breastfeeding. (Babies can even self attach to the breast! Please refer to the You Tube video called “Delivery Self Attachment” based on a study published in The Lancet, 1990, Volume 336:1105-07, by Lennart Righard, MD, and Margaret Alade, RN, BSC, MS. The study compared the ability of newborns to breast crawl and self attach in two study groups: those who were separated at birth for cleaning, measuring, weighing, etc; and those who were allowed to remain on mother’s chest and breast crawl and self attach: both groups included both medicated and unmedicated in labor babies: the babies who were able to breast crawl and self attach were the ones who were unmedicated in labor AND not removed from the mother’s chest after birth.) Therefore immediately after birth is the perfect time to initiate breastfeeding and get nursing off to a good start, and have the baby get his/her first source of food/glucose before it begins its longer newborn sleep stage a few hours after birth when it is harder to awaken the baby to feed. It also is essential that the baby be on mom’s chest (assuming no resuscitation is required for baby) to help facilitate the natural expulsion of the placenta due to the natural surge of oxytocin immediately after birth, and to decrease blood loss.
And finally, the baby’s access to the mother’s micro-biome, the normal skin organisms that live on the mothers skin, is passed to the baby to increase the baby’s immunity and decrease the incidence of infant morbidity.
- Acta Paediatr. 2005 Jun;94(6):775-7. Starting the process of mother-infant bonding.. Kennell J(1), McGrath S.
- Moore ER, Anderson G, Bergman N, Dowswell T. Early skin-to-skin contact for mothers and their healthy newborn infants. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 May 16;5:CD003519. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD003519.pub3.
- Raylene Phillips MD, IBCLC, FAAP. The Sacred Hour: Uninterrupted Skin-to-Skin Contact Immediately After Birth:NAINR. 2013;13(2):67-72.