It is scientifically proven that one of the most valuable experiences shared between a baby and their mother is skin-to-skin contact, especially right after birth. During this affectionate bonding time, the mother’s body naturally releases hormones to promote milk production for infant feeding, and the baby gets familiar with their mother’s scent, which will become their biggest source of comfort. In many cases, the baby will naturally move toward their mother’s breast and begin nursing on their own within an hour or so after birth.
Sometimes, however, a medical complication or a Caesarean delivery can interfere with immediate mother-baby contact. As breastfeeding advocates, the certified lactation counselors at Autumn Oak Speech, Voice, and Hearing in Friendswood, Texas, encourage all mothers to request early skin-to-skin contact and infant feeding. We also understand that many parents-to-be have questions about how they can make this happen, especially if the birth does not go exactly as planned.
Advocating for Skin-to-Skin Contact During the “Golden Hour”
Studies show that the mother’s chest is the best place for a newborn to adjust to life outside the womb. Compared to those who are swaddled or placed in a crib, babies who receive immediate skin-to-skin contact cry less and stay both warmer and calmer. As the benefits of skin-to-skin contact have become more widely known, the practice has gained popularity and is now commonplace in most hospitals—at least for full-term newborns delivered vaginally without any issues.
With that said, if you have scheduled a C-section or would like to have a postpartum backup plan “just in case,” the certified lactation counselors at Autumn Oak can help. We recommend that you talk with your provider during your pregnancy and share your goals for keeping your baby skin-to-skin until after they nurse for the first time. Today, most hospitals can perform most or all vital sign checks and other newborn care while the mother and baby are skin-to-skin, even after a C-section. If this is not possible, a family member or another support person can step in to provide skin-to-skin contact with the baby until the mother is able. Even if the baby cannot (or does not) latch on within their first hour of life, they will still benefit greatly from the close contact.
If you would like more information about infant feeding in general or if you have specific questions about your own breastfeeding journey, you are welcome to consult with a certified lactation counselor at Autumn Oak Speech, Voice, and Hearing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for lactation counseling at our clinic in Friendswood, TX.