The Golden Hour
written by Erika
Photo Credit: HDM Photos- Mankato
Preparing for the Golden Hour
You might be wondering what the Golden Hour is. This is the time after your birth when we want minimal distractions and interruptions. We encourage skin-to-skin with your baby and do our best to keep the room relaxed, quiet, and warm. This is a great time to bond and work on nursing.
While many people are going to be excited to meet your baby and find out all the details of your new family member, we encourage you to take that first hour to simply be in the moment. Wait for the newborn exam or measurements. Wait to call friends and family. Tell extended family that they will have to wait before they get to hold the baby. This is your time.
Newborn benefits of the Golden Hour:
Blood sugar stabilization
Better sleep quality
Improved breastfeeding rates and growth
Maternal benefits of the Golden Hour:
Production of hormones needed for breastfeeding
Decreased anxiety and depression
Release of oxytocin which helps the uterus to contract, reducing postpartum blood loss
It is standard at River Valley Birth Center to wait for the newborn exam until at least 1 hour has passed, if not longer. We try to handle your baby as little as possible and do assessments while you are skin-to-skin. We intervene only as needed because we have seen for ourselves that if all is normal, then less is more. Encourage your partner to relax and wait to make phone calls... we promise that the first thing everyone is going to ask is what your baby weighs... maybe just wait until that newborn exam so you can give them the details they crave!
Not all babies latch at the breast immediately. Some will take their time to figure out what they are doing, and this is ok! Let your baby explore. There is no rush to get an immediate latch. You can take that beginning time to practice in a relaxed way and if you haven't gotten a latch by an hour, feel free to ask for assistance. If you search online, you will find videos showing newborns doing self-attachment and this first hour is the perfect time to try it out without others intervening.
If you have additional guests and support people at your birth beyond your partner, prepare them in advance for your plan to soak up that first hour. They can use that time to prepare you a snack and relax. If your guests/support people are planning to help with breastfeeding, it is ok to ask them for a little time and space to try it out for yourself first.