Golden Hour is a term used in photography, labor and delivery wards, and in war … and it refers to that small window of opportunity when the action taken, or not taken, directly affects the outcome of an event. Acting quickly with practiced and proven expertise, defined by the circumstances of photography, birth before 32 weeks gestation, or a traumatic injury, significantly increases the probability of a positive outcome. Leaving this small window of opportunity, usually about an hour, to fall by the wayside leads to a less than optimal outcome.
For Your Baby Too
Today, as research documents its benefits, it is becoming the norm rather than the exception to capture the Golden Hour following uncomplicated deliveries of healthy newborns. More and more the expectation is that the first hour of your baby’s life will be spent in close contact with you, one of the most important practices of this golden hour concept, so that you and your newborn can enjoy these benefits too. If needed, medical interventions to save or improve your newborn’s life of course are always performed first, and your baby returned to you as quickly as possible.
If you would like to have this Golden Hour with your newborn you can start the communication process by talking with your OB/GYN. When you check in to the hospital you can talk with the medical personnel who will be taking care of you. Expressing your wishes verbally, using only positive words to describe what you imagine to be the best possible way for this magical hour to unfold, will bring you more success than writing a list of everything you “don’t want” to happen in a Birth Plan. This suggestion has everything to do with Mother Nature, and nothing to do with hospital personnel. Acknowledging and trusting medical expertise, and talking positively about your desire to have this Golden Hour with your baby, will work wonders to help you realize this dream.
A lot happens in the first hour of life as your newborn engages in a play of interactions with the new environment. After the initial crying that brings air into the formerly fluid-filled lungs, your baby typically will transition into a calm alert state, a state of being that is proven to be the perfect state for learning to occur. Being skin to skin with you during this quite alert time adds to the benefits your baby receives. The next post will go more deeply into these benefits, but just know that taking advantage of this Golden Hour, if possible, will provide positive, short and long term, benefits for both of you.
Perhaps you have already heard the term Kangaroo Care, but would like to know a little more about it.
I assure you your curiosity will be greatly rewarded.
Kangaroo Care is a method of holding your newborn skin to skin that was developed in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1978. In answer to challenging work conditions mothers were asked to hold their newborn babies to free the limited number of staff and incubators. Having mothers hold their new babies skin to skin on their chests provided an efficient and inexpensive way to care for premature babies. At the time in Bogotá, premature babies had only a 30% (3 out of 10) chance for survival. The impact of this practice was astounding as the outcome for these newborns improved dramatically, giving them a 70% (7 out of 10) chance for survival.
Scientists became very interested in these results and began studying Kangaroo Care. They discovered that babies held skin to skin gained weight faster, required less oxygen assistance for breathing, regulated heart rate and rhythm more easily, maintained warm body temperatures, had fewer infections, and survived more than twice as often as babies not given Kangaroo Care. All of these amazing benefits were a direct result of skin-to-skin contact between babies and their mothers. This physical connection produced physiological changes for these premature babies, resulting in positive, life-affirming outcomes.
For Your Baby
These same health benefits, provided by mothers to their newborns, are available for your baby as well. Kangaroo Care is beneficial for all newborn babies whether premature, term, or post-term. You can start holding your baby skin to skin on Day 1 of life. Most hospitals encourage Kangaroo Care and your baby’s nurse should be able to help you get settled comfortably. Make sure you’re in a safe place and position while holding your baby in Kangaroo Care
This special holding method is primarily a time for your baby to sleep and grow, and for that natural miracle of bonding to occur. So whenever possible after delivery, hold your newborn baby skin to skin in Kangaroo Care. Phenomenal baby care, easily yours.