“Skin to skin” is a special way to hold your baby close right after birth. Your baby’s bare body is against your chest, heart to heart. This helps keep baby warm and calms both baby AND mom. In this calm zone, baby will begin to get used to you and his new world. It also helps your baby get off to a good start with breastfeeding. In fact, skin to skin helps your baby latch on all by himself!

It’s simple. The nurse will help you hold your baby skin to skin right after birth. Just do the following and watch the magic happen.

Mom
  • Lie back slightly and have the baby placed on your bare chest.
  • Ask for a light blanket or towel on the baby’s back to keep him warm.
  • Talk softly to your baby – he knows your voice!
  • Keep your baby skin to skin. Watch baby go through important steps to learn about his world.
  • Skin to Skin is Easy to Do

    It’s easy to hold your baby skin to skin. Your champion or the nurse will help you get comfortable, and will place the baby on your chest right after birth.

    Keep Baby Warm

    The nurse may wipe your baby a little once he’s on your chest. This helps keep the baby from getting too cold. Your bare chest will warm your baby best. A blanket across the baby’s back will also help keep cold air from chilling the baby.

    Get Help from your Nurse

    Your nurse will stay with you to watch both you and your baby. The room will be kept quiet and peaceful so you and baby can relax. You and your champion can now enjoy this special time together as you welcome baby to your family.

  • Entering this new world is scary. I am cold, and everything is loud!
  • I don’t know these strange people and smells. I cry because I want to be near my mom again where I feel safe.
  • When I lie against your chest, I feel your skin and hear your heartbeat.
  • I look up and see you for the first time and know your voice when you say hello.
  • Things don’t seem so scary anymore and I begin to calm. My heart rate slows to match yours.
  • I feel at home and I’m ready to begin my magical first hour with you.

When mom holds baby skin to skin, you have a special role, too. In fact, you can both enjoy this special time together!

  • Ask family and friends to wait an hour or so until after this time together.
  • Talk softly to the baby. He knows your voice, too!
  • Watch to be sure the baby stays safe if mom gets sleepy. Make sure the baby can breathe well. Your nurse will help you with this.
  • Show mom how the baby loves being close to her.
  • If mom is not able to hold the baby skin to skin, ask if you can do so. Babies enjoy being close to someone who cares.
  • Supporting Mom

    As mom’s champion, you are her biggest support. You can help her feel comfortable and confident holding her baby skin to skin. If she’s modest, ask for a small blanket or towel to cover her and the baby. Help her lower her bed so she is leaning back but still able to see the baby.

    Help with Other Family and Friends

    You can also help with visitors. Tell them that this special skin to skin time with baby will take around an hour. They will have many chances to see the baby after that.

Visitors Want to Hold Your Baby

The first hour is a magical time for you and your champion to fall in love with your baby. You waited nine months for this special moment! Other family and friends will have plenty of chances to hold the baby later. Be sure to prepare them before you get to the hospital so they know what to expect and can support you.

Baby is Sleepy

If you had labor drugs, your baby may be a little sleepy. Be sure that your baby can breathe easily. Your nurse can show you what to watch for so your baby stays safe.

You or Your Baby Have Complications

Your baby’s weight, length, and other procedures will be done after skin to skin. Your nurse will monitor both you and your baby very closely. If you or your baby become ill, skin to skin may not be possible or may be delayed. Ask if it is possible for your support person to hold the baby skin to skin if you are not able to. Look forward to holding your baby skin to skin as soon as you are both able.

You are Modest

It’s easy to cover your chest when doing skin to skin. A towel or light blanket can be placed across the baby’s back to cover you and keep baby warm. Ask for more blankets, if needed.

Should my Baby Be Wiped Off First?

Right after birth, babies may still have fluid and a white pasty substance called vernix on their skin. They are not dirty! This fluid is actually good for their delicate skin. It also protects your baby from infection. Babies stay warm and calm when we wait to clean them.

What if I have a C-section?

Skin to skin is important no matter how your baby is born. If you have a C-section, the doctor and nurse will make sure both you and the baby are stable first. Many moms hold their baby skin to skin while the doctor closes their incision. If you are not able to hold the baby, ask if your support person can hold the baby skin to skin until you can.

Can I still do skin to skin if I don’t plan to breastfeed?

Skin to skin is good for all babies and mothers, no matter how you feed your baby.

Should my baby be weighed first?

The most important thing after birth is helping baby to calm while skin to skin. The baby can be weighed after this special time.

How long will I get to hold my baby skin to skin?

If you and your baby are both doing well, you should be able to hold your baby skin to skin for at least an hour after the birth. Babies who are breastfeeding take about that long to crawl to the breast and latch on by themselves. If you had medications during your labor, your baby might be sleepy and take a little longer.

Can I continue to hold my baby skin to skin after the first hour?

Skin to skin is important even after the first hour. Right after your first time together, the baby nurse will weigh and measure your baby and give medication. Once you are together again, you can hold your baby skin to skin in your room. In fact, the more baby is skin to skin with you, the more he will breastfeed. This helps your milk production get started more quickly. Once you are home, you can do skin to skin whenever you wish to help your baby feel calm and relaxed.
  • Educate moms about the importance of skin to skin contact during prenatal visits and immediately after delivery.
  • Support skin to skin policies and protocols throughout the hospitalization stay. This includes protocols for skin to skin after a C-section.
  • Upon arrival in the delivery room, confirm with the mother her desire to hold her baby skin to skin as soon as possible after the delivery.
  • Communicate and support the mother’s wishes regarding skin to skin with other delivery room staff.
  • Do the initial assessment of the baby while he is in skin to skin contact with the mother, if possible.
  • Delay routine procedures until after the first hour while the mother and baby are in skin to skin contact. This includes delaying weighing the baby. [See Delay Routine Procedures]
  • Should the baby require assessment apart from the mother on a warmer, assure that the baby is returned to the mother for skin to skin care as soon as possible.
  • If the mother and baby are separated in the delivery room, assure that the baby is placed in skin to skin care as soon as possible.
  • If the mother is medically unable to hold her baby skin to skin, support skin to skin between the baby and the mother’s partner or champion, if desired.
  • If the baby is admitted to the NICU, encourage skin to skin throughout the NICU stay.
  • Educate moms about the importance of skin to skin contact upon her admission to the labor and delivery unit. Discuss her wishes and share with other staff.
  • Support skin to skin policies and protocols throughout the hospitalization stay. This includes protocols for skin to skin after a C-section.
  • Support the mother’s wishes to hold her baby skin to skin for at least the first hour, until the baby’s first breastfeed.
  • Conduct labs and heel sticks while the baby is skin to skin with the mother, if possible.
  • Assist the mother with managing visitors so she and her champion have quiet, uninterrupted time with the baby.
  • Help the mother with privacy by placing a towel or blanket over her and the baby.
  • Monitor the mother and baby in the first hour. Assure that the baby’s airway is not obstructed and the mother is comfortable.
  • If the mother is medically unable to hold her baby skin to skin, support skin to skin with the mother’s partner or champion, if desired.
  • Encourage the mother to continue skin to skin contact throughout the hospital stay.
Skin to skin is awesome. The benefits are incredible, and it’s a magical moment you’ll cherish forever. Best of all, you don’t have to do any work at all. You just let nature take its course. Be sure to tell your hospital you want skin to skin right after birth. You won’t want to miss it!

The first hour after your baby’s birth can be a magical time if you and baby stay close. Baby will stop crying and become calm and content when he is near you. If this peaceful time is not disturbed, you and your baby can build a special bond. Baby will even show you some amazing talents. Best of all, it’s a time for all of you to relax and fall in love.

It’s simple! Just hold baby skin to skin for the first hour and let the magic begin. Your baby will use his instincts to follow nine special steps to meet you and adjust to his new world. It’s an awesome journey you won’t want to miss!

Mom
  • Lie back a little and relax while the nurse places your baby on your bare chest.
  • Ask for a blanket to cover your baby’s back if you need privacy.
  • Use your hands to gently support the baby’s body.
  • Talk with your baby. He knows your voice!
  • Watch your baby move through the steps and show you how smart he is.

Baby’s Amazing Senses

In the magical first hour, your baby is quiet and alert and his senses are strong. Baby’s eyes and ears help him know you are his mom, so talk to your baby and let him hear your heartbeat. Touch helps baby calm and relax, so keep him close against your skin. Your baby even knows your special scent, because your chest smells a lot like the fluid he lived in the last 9 months. When baby stays on your chest, he can even use his sense of taste to latch onto your breast all by himself.

Give it Time!

Babies need about an hour or more to go through these special steps. Give it time and enjoy the journey. There’s only one “first hour” with your baby!

Step 1
Crying. I cry because this new world is scary! I also cry so I can breathe on my own.
Step 2
Relaxing. Once I’m close to mom, I’m happy and calm.
Step 3
Waking. I open my eyes and see you for the first time. I know your voice when you talk to me. Now I know you’re my mom!
Step 4
Activity. I smell your scent and I want to get even closer to you. I move my head and hands to look for you.
Step 5
Rest. All that work makes me tired, so I need to rest.
Step 6
Crawling. My knees and arms help me move closer.
Step 7
Becoming familiar. I’m almost there! I smell mom’s milk and use my tongue to lick and suck on my hands.
Step 8
Suckling. I latch on by myself to taste your sweet milk.
Step 9
Sleep. I am full and happy, and fall asleep.

As mom’s champion, you won’t want to miss the magical first hour. Baby’s nine steps can be easy to miss if you don’t know what to watch for. Learn the steps so you can help mom see each one.

  • Ask family and friends to wait until after this magical time together.
  • Talk softly to the baby. He loves hearing your voice, too!
  • Show mom how the baby is looking for her.
  • Talk to mom so she knows what baby is doing. Help her support the baby. Your nurse can help, too.
  • Ask your nurse and doctor to wait until after the first hour before doing routine procedures.

Welcome Baby Softly

You can help create a soft welcome for the baby in the first hour. Ask about dimming the lights and keeping the room quiet. Bright lights and loud noises bother the baby right at first.

Support Mom

Help the mom feel comfortable holding her baby skin to skin. Place a light blanket over baby’s back if she needs privacy. Adjust her bed so she can see her baby.

Help with Other Family and Friends

You can also help with visitors. Tell them that this magical first hour only happens once! After the first hour or so, there’s a lifetime ahead to share the baby with others.

Being together in the first hour is a special way to feel your baby’s love.

  • Baby will stop crying and become calm when he is with you.
  • For baby, home is in your arms, skin to skin. Your baby wants to be near you more than anything!
  • You’ll love knowing you are the one who helps your baby feel safe and secure.
  • Watch baby move through the nine steps and be amazed at how smart he is!
  • You can even watch your baby latch onto your breast by himself. This helps your body get started making more milk right away.

Fall in Love with Baby

Many mothers say the first hour is magical. When you and your baby gaze at each other the first time, it’s love at first sight! It’s just as special for your baby. Now he knows he can trust the warm and loving person holding him.

Why Baby Calms

Right after birth, babies are bothered by loud noises and lights. When he spends his first hour skin to skin with you, he feels safe. He already knows your scent, your voice, and the soft feel of your touch.

Baby Knows What to Do

Babies have natural instincts in the first hour. When baby is left on your chest, he can even crawl to your breast and latch on all by himself! This helps breastfeeding go easier later. Your body also gets started making milk right away so your baby grows and gains weight.

Visitors Want to Hold Your Baby

The first hour is a special time for you and your champion to meet your baby for the first time. You waited a long time for this! Other family and friends will have plenty of chances to hold the baby later. Be sure to prepare them before you get to the hospital so they will know what to expect and can support you.

You Need Special Care

Holding your baby skin to skin gives you pain relief! If you need stitches or other special care after your baby is born, ask your doctor if you can hold your baby during the care.

Your Baby Needs Special Care

Ask the hospital staff to wait until after your first hour together for routine procedures such as weighing and bathing the baby. If your baby needs special care, ask if it can be done while you hold your baby skin to skin. This gives pain relief for baby, too!

You and Baby are Apart

In some cases moms and babies must be apart right after the birth. Ask your nurse to bring your baby to you and hold him skin to skin as soon as possible.

Baby is Slow to Latch

Most babies take around an hour to an hour and a half to latch by themselves for the first time. If you have labor drugs, your baby might be sleepy and take a little longer. Each baby has his own time schedule, so be patient and enjoy each step of the journey. There will never be another “first hour”!

When Will We Know What my Baby Weighs?

You and your family may be anxious to know how much your baby weighs. You’ll know soon enough! What’s most important at first is being close so baby can have a warm welcome into the world. Your baby will be weighed right after the magical first hour.

Should my Baby Be Wiped Off First?

Right after birth, babies may still have fluid and a white pasty substance called vernix on their skin. They are not dirty! This fluid is actually good for their delicate skin. It also protects your baby from infection. Babies keep warm and calm when we wait to clean them.

Can I Keep Baby With Me after a C-Section?

Time with baby in the first hour is important no matter how your baby is born. If you are awake during your C-Section, ask if you can spend time with your baby while the doctor closes your incision. If you are not awake, ask the hospital to bring your baby to you as soon as you are stable. If for any reason you are not able to hold the baby, ask if your champion can hold the baby skin to skin until you can.

What if I am Sleepy?

Some moms get sleepy after the birth. Ask your champion to stay with you and talk with you so you can watch the baby’s nine steps together. Ask your nurse to help you support the baby so you are both comfortable.

What if I Don’t Plan to Breastfeed?

Spending time with your baby in the first hour is good for all babies and mothers, no matter how they are fed.
  • Support policies that keep mothers and babies together during the first hour.
  • Educate moms about the magical hour during prenatal visits and upon admission to the hospital.
  • Communicate and support the mother’s wishes for time with her baby with other delivery room staff.
  • Do an initial brief assessment of the baby while he is in skin to skin contact with the mother. A more detailed physical exam can be done after this important time.
  • Delay routine procedures until after the first hour, if possible.
  • Should the baby require assessment apart from the mother on a warmer, assure that the baby is returned to the mother for skin to skin and time together as soon as possible.
  • If the mother is medically unable to hold her baby skin to skin, support skin to skin between the baby and the mother’s partner or champion, if desired.
  • Support policies that keep mothers and babies together during the first hour.
  • Educate moms about the importance of the magical first hour when they arrive at the hospital and after the birth.
  • Discuss her wishes and share with other staff.
  • Help the mother and her champion keep the baby skin to skin during the magical hour.
  • Help the parents manage visitors so she and her champion can have quiet, uninterrupted time with the baby.
  • Delay routine procedures until after the first hour. Explain to parents why it’s important to weigh and bathe the baby later.
  • If procedures must be done for medical reasons, conduct while the baby is skin to skin with mother, if possible.
  • Monitor the mother and baby in the first hour.
  • If the mother and baby must be separated for any reason, return the baby to the mother or allow her to go to her baby as soon as possible.
  • Support placing the baby the skin to skin with the mother’s partner or champion, if desired.
The magical first hour is easy! Your baby does all the work, so your job is simply to relax and snuggle. It doesn’t get any better than that!

The first time you cuddle your baby is a great time for the first feed. When you keep your baby close, skin to skin, baby can actually find your breast and latch on by himself. It’s amazing to feel this close to your baby and to see him satisfied and content. There’s no better way to bond!

It’s easy, because baby can do it himself. Here are some quick tips to help make it work.

Mom
  • Right after the birth, lie back slightly and have the baby placed on your bare chest.
  • Watch your baby use his instincts to go through nine steps to find your breast by himself.
  • When baby feels your breast against his cheek he knows he’s close and will open wide to latch.
  • Ask your nurse to see if your baby is latched well.
  • Relax and enjoy the first feed with your baby.

Be Patient

Some babies latch on right away. Others take a little more time, especially if they are sleepy after the birth. Taking that time now to get it right will help make sure other feedings go well, too.

A Good Latch

Baby’s chest will be right up against your body and he will not have to turn his head to drink. His mouth will be open wide. Baby will take in your nipple and a large part of the dark area around it. You might hear or see him swallow quietly. When he is through, he may fall asleep.

Avoiding Pain

If baby is latched well, breastfeeding should not hurt. If you aren’t sure, ask your nurse to help.

  • I smell a wonderful scent on you that reminds me of home. I must get closer!
  • I bob my head and turn it back and forth to find you.
  • I can feel your soft breast against my cheek. Now I know where I am!
  • I use my tongue to get a taste. This is the same licking motion I’ll use later to get the milk.
  • Now that I’m here, I know just what to do. I open wide and taste your sweet milk for the first time.

It is hard for mom to see how her baby is latched. As her champion, you can help.

  • Make sure the room is quiet and mom is not disturbed until after baby’s first feeding.
  • Learn about ways to keep her comfortable.
  • Check to be sure baby’s mouth is open wide and his lips are turned out like “fish lips.”
  • Ask the nurse to check the baby’s latch if she feels pain.
  • Tell mom she’s doing a great job!
  • Learn About Breastfeeding

    As mom’s champion, learn about breastfeeding while she is pregnant. Go with her to a breastfeeding class to learn why breastfeeding is important. Learn what a good latch looks like, and how baby uses his instincts to latch on by himself in the magical first hour.

    Check Baby’s Latch

    Baby’s mouth should be open wide to take in a large part of the breast. Baby’s lips will be turned out like “fish lips.” If the mom has any pain at all, the baby may not be latched well. Ask your nurse for help.

Your happy, satisfied baby at your breast is a great way to feel sure of your role as a new mom.

  • The first feed helps you and your baby form a special bond.
  • Your first milk protects your baby from getting sick.
  • Baby is sure to get more milk when he latches correctly.
  • You are also less likely to have sore nipples.
  • The first feed helps your body get started making more milk for your baby.

A Great Start for You

When baby latches by himself in the first hour after birth, he often does it right. A good latch prevents sore nipples. It helps your baby get plenty of milk, and tells your body to start making more. It also helps you feel sure of yourself and your ability to breastfeed.

A Great Start for Baby

Baby’s first feed right after birth helps him learn to suck the right way. This helps him latch well for other feedings, too. When baby latches right, he gets more milk to gain weight well.

Liquid Gold

Your first milk is called colostrum. It is thick and packed with nutrients to protect your baby from disease. It also acts as a laxative so baby can pass his first thick black stools. The amount is small, but it’s just what baby needs at first.

Baby Doesn’t Want to Latch

If baby is not interested right at first, be patient. Labor drugs can sometimes make babies a little sleepy. Gently stroke your baby’s body to help wake him up. Express a little of your first milk and put it on your baby’s lips. Keep your baby close, skin to skin. Ask your nurse for help. She may ask the lactation consultant to help, if she is available.

You Had a C-Section

Talk with your doctor about holding your baby as soon as you and baby are stable. If you and baby must be apart for a little while, ask your nurse to bring the baby to you as soon as you are both okay. Your nurse can show you other ways to hold your baby so it does not hurt your incision.

You or Baby Need Special Care

If you or your baby needs special care, the first feed might be delayed. If the delay will be more than an hour, express your milk so it will begin flowing more quickly. Ask if you can go to your baby as soon as possible. Babies can still latch by themselves later, too. If baby has trouble latching, ask for help from your nurse. She may ask the lactation consultant to help if she is available.

Will breastfeeding hurt the first time?

When the baby is latched well, breastfeeding should not hurt. If it hurts, gently remove the baby from your breast and let him try again. Just slip your finger between his gums to break the suction. If you aren’t sure how things are going, ask your nurse to help you.

How much milk will my baby get?

You may not feel it, but the milk is there! The amount is small, only about a teaspoon. But it’s just what’s needed to fill your baby’s marble-sized tummy.

How do I know my baby is getting enough?

Your baby will be content while sucking. You may even hear or see him swallow your milk. After the first feed, baby will relax and may even fall asleep.

Why does it take so long for my baby to breastfeed?

Babies need some time to get used to their new world. The nine steps they go through in the first hour is a magical time that ends with the first feed. If you had labor drugs, baby might be sleepy and need a little extra time.

Will every feed take this long?

Babies have to learn how to breastfeed. The first feed may take a little longer as baby figures out how it works! He may even come off and off the breast a few times until he gets it right. Once baby knows how to suck properly, he will latch more quickly for other feedings. The more your baby breastfeeds, the easier it gets!
  • Support practices that keep mothers and babies together during the first hour.
  • Encourage mom to hold her baby skin to skin so baby can self-attach.
  • Do the initial assessment of the baby while he is skin to skin with mom.
  • Support policies that minimize disruptions until after the first feed occurs.
  • If the mother and baby must be separated for special care, assure that the baby is returned to the mother, or she is allowed to go to the baby, as soon as possible.
  • If the separation is longer than an hour, encourage the mother to begin expressing her milk.
  • Tell mom that this first feed gives her baby exactly what he needs.
  • Support practices that keep mothers and babies together during the first hour.
  • Encourage mom to hold her baby skin to skin so baby can self-attach.
  • Delay routine procedures until after the baby’s first feed.
  • Show the mother how smart her baby is, and allow the baby to self-attach on his own.
  • Tell mom that this first feed gives her baby exactly what he needs.
  • Check to be sure the baby’s chest is against the mother’s chest.
  • Check the latch to be sure baby’s mouth is open wide.
  • If the mother had a C-section, help her place the baby sideways across her chest so her incision will be protected.
  • If breastfeeding is not comfortable, help her readjust the latch so it does not hurt.
  • If the mother and baby must be separated for special care, assure that the baby is returned to the mother, or she is allowed to go to the baby, as soon as possible.
  • If the separation is longer than an hour, help the mother begin expressing her milk by hand or with a breast pump.
  • Praise the mother and her champion. They need to know they are doing a good job!
There’s nothing more natural than the first feed at the end of a magical time with your baby. Your baby knows what to do. Your job? Watch and enjoy!

Right after your baby is born, nothing should stand in the way of your first hello. Once baby is near you, he will stop crying and become calm and content. This is your golden chance to bond and help baby feel safe in this scary new world. Other things, like weighing and bathing the baby, can wait.

Your body is amazing! You have everything you need to keep your baby safe and warm. It works best when we wait until after baby’s first feeding to do certain tests, weigh the baby, and even give his first bath.

Mom
  • Hold your baby skin to skin on your chest right after birth.
  • Tell your doctor and nurse that you want to spend time with baby before routine procedures are done.
  • Ask if your doctor can do your baby’s first check-up while baby is skin to skin with you. If the doctor needs to take the baby to examine him, ask that your baby return to you as soon as possible.
  • Ask the nurse to wait until after the first hour to give your baby eye drops. You and your baby will want to see each other clearly!
  • If certain tests are needed, ask if they can done while your baby is skin to skin with you.
  • Your Amazing Body

    While your baby is skin to skin, your body naturally keeps your baby safe and warm. Best of all, your baby is so smart he even knows who you are right away! He knows your heart beat, your voice, and your scent. When he’s skin to skin with you, he becomes calm and content. This helps him adjust to his new world more easily.

    Do Not Disturb

    Baby stays calm when we wait a while for tests and bathing. A “do not disturb” policy until after the first feeding helps you and your baby relax and bond.

    Get Prepared

    Talk with your doctor about keeping your baby skin to skin and delaying routine procedures. Bring it up while you are pregnant, and remind the staff when you get to the hospital.

  • These bright lights and loud noises scare me!
  • The eye drops make it hard for me to see you clearly.
  • The bath is scary and makes me cold. The smell of home that comforts me is washed away.
  • I want to stay with you where I feel warm and safe. Loud noises, bright lights, and pokes don’t bother me so much.

As mom’s champion, you are her biggest support. You can help her talk with her doctor and nurse about her needs.

  • Tell family and friends they can see the baby in an hour or so.
  • Remind your doctor and nurse that she wants to delay routine procedures until after baby’s first feeding.
  • If certain procedures are needed, ask if they can be done while mom is holding the baby skin to skin.
  • Tell mom she is doing a great job. Tell her she’s a great mom.

Your Role

Right after the birth, mom may not feel well enough to tell the staff what she wants. As her champion, you can help! Talk with the staff before the birth to be sure they know you want to delay routine procedures. After the birth, remind them in case things get busy.

When Things Don’t Go as Planned

Sometimes things don’t go the way you planned. If certain procedures cannot be delayed, ask if they can be done while the baby is skin to skin with mom. If the baby cannot be with mom right away, skin to skin can begin when the baby returns to her. Remind her she is a great mom and will have special time with baby later.

When you delay routine procedures, you and your baby have time to form a bond of love.

  • Baby stops crying and calms in your arms.
  • When you wait on eye drops, your baby can see you clearly.
  • There’s no better feeling than knowing you are the one who helps your baby feel warm and safe.
  • You even protect your baby from pain! Babies who are skin to skin don’t notice pain as much.
  • Delaying procedures helps your baby relax so he can learn to breastfeed for the first time.

No Need to Rush!

Just enjoy this special first hour with your baby. Baby will cope with procedures better when he can spend time with you first.

Baby’s Amazing Energy

When babies stay calm for a while, they use their energy to adjust to their world. They also use their energy to learn how to breastfeed well.

When it’s Time for Procedures

After the first hour, your amazing body can continue to keep baby calm. Ask if you can hold your baby skin to skin after baby’s first bath to warm him. When painful procedures such as drawing blood are needed, ask if it can be done while you hold your baby skin to skin. This will help him feel less pain.

You’re Worried the Baby is Dirty

Birth can be a little messy, so it’s natural to wonder if baby should be bathed first. The fluid and white pasty substance (vernix) on the skin are actually GOOD for baby! It helps your baby fight germs. It also protects your baby’s very thin, tender skin. Giving a bath makes baby cold. It’s best to wait at least a few hours before giving baby a bath.

You Want to Know your Baby’s Weight

It’s natural to wonder how much your baby weighs. You and your family will all know soon enough! What’s most important is being close so baby can have a warm welcome into the world. Your baby will be weighed right after your magical first hour together.

What Tests Will My Baby Need?

Your baby’s first test is the APGAR score. This is done 1 minute and 5 minutes after the birth. It can be done while baby is on your chest, if he is stable. The doctor or nurse will observe your baby’s skin color, heart rate, and breathing. Other procedures your baby needs are blood tests, eye drops, and Vitamin K.

Why Does my Baby Need Eye Drops?

Eye drops or ointments help prevent eye infections baby can get during the birth. Ask if this can be delayed until after your magical first hour.

Why Does My Baby Need Vitamin K?

Vitamin K helps your baby’s blood to clot. Some babies do not have enough when they are born and need this to help prevent bleeding. Ask if it can be done while your baby is skin to skin with you.

What Blood Tests will my Baby Need?

Your baby will need blood tests before going home. The blood will be taken by a stick in the heel of their foot. The test will check for many diseases that can be treated. Your hospital will also give baby a Hepatitis B vaccine. Because drawing blood and giving shots can be painful, ask if you can hold your baby skin to skin while the tests are being done.
  • Support policies that delay routine procedures until after the magical first hour.
  • Assure that the baby is placed skin to skin with the mother right after birth.
  • Do the initial assessment of the baby while he is in skin to skin contact with the mother.
  • If certain procedures cannot be delayed until after the first hour, conduct them while the baby is skin to skin with the mother, if possible.
  • Should the baby require assessment or procedures apart from the mother, return the baby to the mother for skin to skin care as soon as possible.
  • Be patient about finishing paperwork that may require entering the baby’s birth weight.
  • Work with the labor and delivery nurse on a method to obtain information about the birth weight later.
  • Encourage the entire family to support the mother’s decision to breastfeed.
  • Assure the baby is placed skin to skin with the mother right after birth.
  • Delay “eyes and thighs” until after the first hour.
  • If routine procedures cannot wait, conduct while the baby is on the mother’s chest, skin to skin.
  • Wait to weigh the baby until after the first hour of skin to skin.
  • Delay the baby’s first bath for at least 6 hours.
  • Explain to the parents why it’s important to wait to weigh and bathe the baby until later.
  • If the mother and baby must be separated for any reason, help her hand express her milk if the separation is longer than one hour. Help the mother and baby reunite as quickly as possible for skin to skin care.
  • Work with physician on a method of informing about the baby’s birth weight after the first hour.
  • Encourage the entire family to support the mother’s decision to breastfeed.
It’s not hard to delay routine procedures. All you have to do is ASK! You and your baby will be glad you did!
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