Plan for Those First Moments

Before your baby is born, talk to your doctor or midwife about what will happen immediately after delivery. In uncomplicated births and C-sections, it’s usually possible and helpful for new parents to spend a quiet hour or so holding and getting to know their newborn.

If a mother can hold the infant skin-to-skin on her chest during this period—ideally, even before the baby is thoroughly cleaned and weighed—multiple studies suggest that the benefits are even greater.

Researchers have found that full-term newborns who have a long period of undisturbed skin-to-skin contact with their mothers right after birth sleep more, cry less and are less stressed overall than infants who are held briefly by their mothers, then taken away for washing and dressing.

Studies have also shown that if a mother is not able to hold her baby skin-to-skin after delivery, being held in the same way by the father or another adult offers many of the same benefits.

Skin-to-skin contact also helps to establish breastfeeding. A newborn placed on his mother’s chest is able to locate the breast and even instinctively begin to suckle. Ask your care provider now if you’ll be able to have this time with your newborn immediately after birth.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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