The Sacred Hour
The first hour after the birth is such a momentous time for the mother and her baby that it is often called the Sacred Hour or Golden Hour. Uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby during the sacred hour is just as it sounds: you holding your baby belly-to-belly, with your skin touching during the first hour after birth. After nine months of waiting, this is your first chance to hold your baby in your arms, to count the tiny fingers and toes and gaze into the eyes of your newborn. This skin-to-skin contact after birth is critical to your child’s growth and development.
After a vaginal birth, mothers can chose to have their baby placed on their chest right away so they can help dry their baby while the umbilical cord is cut. Your provider or nurse will help you c
omfortably position and hold your unwrapped baby on your bare chest. Your baby will be facing in toward you and his or her back will be covered with a blanket. Then all you need to do is relax and enjoy your first moments cuddling with your newborn.
Mothers who deliver via cesarean section can also have skin-to-skin care in the operating room. After a brief assessment, if both the mother and baby are doing well, the baby will be placed on the mother’s chest with the assistance of a nurse.
Regardless of how you are feeding your baby, your baby can benefit from skin to skin contact.
- Enhances Bonding
- Reduced Postpartum Depression
- Babies are warmer
- Babies are calmer
- Babies can hear their mother’s heartbeat.
- Heart and breathing rates are normalized
- Milk supply may be improved
Fathers can also provide skin-to-skin care during the Sacred Hour.