Bonding with your baby immediately after birth

 

A lot is said about the importance of bonding straight after the birth, and it is wonderful if the new family can be given the quiet and privacy they need to enjoy these first moments together.

 

Your baby has been propelled from the dark, familiar cocoon of the mother’s womb into a bright and noisy world, and is being bombarded with new sensations. In your arms is the most comforting and reassuring place to be. The hour or so after delivery is also the ideal time to start breastfeeding. It not only encourages bonding but also stimulates digestion and ensures that the baby gets the protective benefits of the first milk (colostrum) straight away. Babies practise the sucking movement while in the womb, and if placed on the mother’s stomach may find their own way to the nipple using their sense of smell.

 

At this time bright lights should be dimmed to create as relaxing and unobtrusive an environment as possible. Any weighing or non-urgent checks should wait, so that mother and the baby can get to know each other. The room should be warm so that the baby can be placed naked on the mother’s bare skin. If the father is there, he shouldn’t feel that he has to immediately rush off to telephone relatives with the news. It is far more important that he stays to share the first few minutes of his baby’s life.

 

Everything else can wait.

 

All babies need love and to feel the touch of those who love them.

Research shows that premature babies who are stroked gain more weight, are more responsive and spend fewer days in hospital.

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