G is for Golden Hour

We are celebrating our Montreal prenatal class, From Birth to Earth: A modern prenatal class, with the ABCs of prenatal education. From A to Z we cover some common prenatal terms: G is for Golden Hour.

The time immediately after your baby is born is often referred to as “the golden hour”. It’s bound to be a bit of a shock for your baby when they come out. They have spent months in a warm, dark, aquatic, and kind of loud place. Earthside is bright, cold and the absence of your swooshing heartbeat must be unsettling. Not to mention the insane physiological changes that happen as your baby reroutes their circulation and takes their first breath. The golden hour is when your baby is making this transition and you may start falling in love. (You may take a little longer to fall madly in love with your baby. That’s also completely normal!)

Immediate skin-to-skin contact is at the center of protecting the golden hour. Studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact reduces stress in both the baby and the parent, and it helps babies regulate their heartbeat, respiration, and blood sugar. Importantly, skin-to-skin also has an impact on bonding and breastfeeding. Getting you and your baby snuggled up and nearly naked (topless for you and diaper optional for all!) is a win-win situation.

Importantly, instinctively we want our babies close. After birth, people often want to touch and smell their baby, count their toes and fingers, feel their soft cheeks, soak them in and let oxytocin flow. They gaze at their babies, noticing all of their unique features, hoping to remember all of the little details, and there is even a biological reason why we want to eat them up!

The Golden Hour in the rest of the mammalian world involves a lot more licking

What you will learn about the golden hour in our class

Your baby is born! What happens now? What is standard care and what options do you have?

Importance of skin-to-skin contact for breastfeeding and bonding.

If you have to be separated from your baby, what can you do? Spoiler: all is NOT lost!

Interesting facts about the golden hour

Just like other mammals, human babies can initiate a breast crawl to find the breast and latch on for their first feed! In the golden hour, babies are generally fairly alert. They have their eyes open and hey are looking around. In the first hour they start to hunt for the breast by bopping their heads and using their feet to push themselves army crawl style towards the nipple. Left to their own devices, babies are able to do a breast crawl, find the nipple and latch on. Magique!

Skin-to-skin contact doesn’t end when the golden hour is up. It can even be used to lessen a baby’s experience of pain during things like vaccines and heel pricks.

So in the end, the golden hour is time well spent and in most cases it is totally available! Give yourself time to shift into your new role. You and your baby will have the whole rest of your postpartum period to be doted on, visited, nourished, supported, filled in on what’s going on in the world, and loved. This first hour is all yours.

Up next, H is for Hunger cues.
Back to F is for Fontanelle.

Learn more about our prenatal classes.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28205208
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6464366/

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