After The Birth

The moments just after your baby is born are likely to be the most awe-inspiring and precious moments in your entire life. At this time, with your baby at last in your arms, all the plans, dreams, and hopes of the last nine month have come to fruition. You'll want to make sure you get the full experience.

Most parents want this time to be uninterrupted by hospital staff. This is a very significant, personal, and moving experience and one that is meant to be intimate. If you write up a birth plan, make sure you specify that you and your partner can be alone with the baby at this time if at all possible.

Long Visit

The staff may be inclined to rush the baby off for all the myriad things that are done to the baby just after the birth: vitamin K injection, eye ointment application, measuring height, weight, and head circumference and a quick washing up. But in most cases all these tasks can be delayed until you've had a nice long visit with your new baby. If your baby is full-term, he has more than a 90% chance of being normal and healthy and can wait a bit for his evaluation; as much as an hour or more.

First things first, though—the baby should be gently rubbed dry with warmed towels so he doesn't lose body heat. As soon as he's dry and has had his one and five minute Apgar tests, as long as he's active and has good color, you can have your baby. Sometimes the baby will be placed on your stomach, or he might be placed between your breasts. Maybe your partner will climb into the bed and the baby can be placed between the two of you as you all rest up after the birth.

Natural Incubator

Already at birth, your baby knows your smell and voice. He feels safe next to you when he is close to your body. Feeling your nearness makes leaving the womb a bit easier for him. Your body acts as a kind of natural incubator and helps to keep him warm.

It is known that babies placed in bassinets near their moms after birth tend to cry for 20-40 seconds every five minutes over the first 90 minutes. When infants are placed skin to skin with their mothers, however, it is rare for them to cry during this first 90 minute period. Infants are quite perceptive and know the difference between their mothers and an impersonal bassinet.

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