What Is the Golden Hour After Birth?
When a baby is born, there is a flurry of tasks that seem to take precedence. Weighing the new baby, checking in on their general health, taking measurements, and cleaning them up are all super important aspects of the birthing process.
However, if there’s no emergency or immediate demands, these to-do lists could probably wait so that mom and baby can take a breather. This time is what is known as the “golden hour.” Generally, the golden hour refers to the uninterrupted hour after labor when a mom and baby enjoy some skin-to-skin bonding.
Even if this golden space can’t get on the schedule ASAP, this time can still be great for mom and baby to experience, even if there are some extra steps in between.
Participating in the golden hour after birth has a plethora of benefits for both mom and baby that we would love to share with you today. If you’re able and you’re expecting, you might want to consider adding a slot for the golden hour into your birthing plan.
What Are the Benefits of the Golden Hour?
So now that we have a general understanding of the golden hour and its meaning, let’s jump into the benefits.
We are big proponents of skin-to-skin time with your baby here at Tabeeze, so some of these perks may already seem familiar. The best time for skin-to-skin contact, also called “kangaroo care,” is all the time.
However, the following information focuses on the window of time just after the baby makes their grand entrance.
An Opportunity To Rest
Scientific research has confirmed that giving birth is similar to participating in extreme sports. We’re talking ultra-marathons, the Tour de France, and the Ironman.
After hours (or days) of labor, you’re finished! You take a huge gulp of water or Gatorade (which no one dumps ceremonially on your head, of course). But, instead of a podium, you’re on an adjustable hospital bed. And instead of a gold medal or yellow jersey, you are handed a baby. You lay back and take a second to enjoy your prize and take a well-deserved rest.
This undisturbed time together is important. This time gives mom and baby some peace in between all of the poking and prodding that comes with childbirth. Both mom and baby can get a break from all the action and truly soak each other in.
Chance for Skin-to-Skin Bonding
Both mother and baby’s heart rates become more stable and regulated due to this special skin-to-skin time.
Mom’s confidence increases as she experiences a rush of oxytocin. Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, floods mom with positive emotions when gazing down at her new baby. Oxytocin results in increased confidence and feelings of connectivity.
It’s not just mom who feels the love: babies feel an instinctual closeness to mom. After the stress of labor, babies calm down quickly and soon are like cucumbers.
Skin-to-skin contact drastically increases feelings of bonding between mother and child, especially when initiated during the golden hour, right after birth.
At Tabeeze, we love skin-to-skin contact. The benefits are countless for babies and caregivers.
If skin-to-skin time is a ritual you want to incorporate into your regular life with your baby at home, we suggest our Tabeeze Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuit. Our patented shoulder flats, fumble-free snap alignment, and feet-first style allow for super easy access to skin-to-skin time for you and your little one.
Helps Regulate Baby’s Temperature
Oxytocin doesn’t just make us feel warm and cuddly — it actually makes us warmer.
Nestling close to her new baby raises a mother’s body temperature, encouraging her newborn to snuggle in closer. This helps the baby’s body temperature remain stable. It can even help lower the rates of hypoglycemia (abnormally low blood sugar).
Even after leaving the womb, mom continues to help regulate her baby’s body temper; isn’t that awesome?
Can Help Encourage Breastfeeding
Skin-to-skin contact can help prompt babies to breastfeed for those families who choose this route. A mother’s warmth and unique smell are like Google map directions to the closest restaurant for a baby.
The breast milk made just after birth is called colostrum. Breastfeeding mothers produce colostrum for two to five days after giving birth; this thick, yellow milk is incredibly nutrient-dense and rich, which is perfect for babies who need a strong dose of antibodies.
Boosts Baby’s Immune System
Mom’s good and healthy bacteria are shared with her baby via skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth. This protects the newborn and decreases the risk of infection significantly.
The Nine Stages of Golden Hour
The birth cry is real: When babies enter the world, everything is bright, new, loud, and maybe even scary. When oxygen fills their lungs for the very first time, a baby will usually let out a huge cry. This is known as the birth cry. It has been shown to subside when the little one is placed on their mother’s chest.
Time to relax: after letting out the ginormous cry, a baby will generally relax and enter a calmer state. Their mouth may remain closed, their eyes may close again, and their hands may release from fists. This is pretty much your baby’s first time to catch their breath and relax after the strenuous and effortful experience of being birthed.
Then, time to wake up: After this state of relaxation, which usually lasts for about five minutes, your baby will begin to wake up. They might flutter their eyes, coo a bit, move their mouth around, and begin to wiggle or squirm. Welcome to the world, little one!
Movement & Activity: After this, your baby may really start moving and grooving. Baby may look towards mom, following their instinct to try and “root” by finding her breast for food.
Rest, rest, rest: There might be some in-between moments of stillness and quietness from your little one. They just put in a ton of hard work to come into this world, and long traveling days are exhausting. Revel in these restful moments; let yourself and your little one move at their own pace.
Maybe Breast Crawl: Babies are born with a reflex to crawl or scoot towards your breast for milk. During the golden hour, your baby may try to latch onto your breast on their own. If you are choosing to breastfeed, encouraging your baby to latch may lead to an easier transition to nursing.
Familiarization: Your baby is getting familiar with your body. This baby exploration also raises oxytocin levels in both mother and child, allowing for an enhanced bond and a signal to start producing more milk.
Suckling: Finally, after your baby has successfully latched, they will begin to nurse. This first feeding during the golden hour is so ideal for bonding with mom and little one.
Finally, sleep: Both mom and baby are typically exhausted after birth. Once your baby starts to suckle, you may drift off to sleep with them. If you have people in the room watching over you, give them a heads-up you’re about to take a quick (or long) cat nap.
Beyond The Golden Hour
The golden hour is a seriously beautiful part of the birthing process to take part in if both mom and baby are happy and healthy. We highly suggest you soak in this skin-to-skin time with your little one if you are able.
Before giving birth, let your doctors, nurses, or midwives know that you are interested in experiencing the golden hour so that they can plan accordingly. If they’ve got any concerns, they’ll let you know.
The golden hour is a perfect way for mom and baby to get to know each other for the very first time. This bonding can aid in connection for the rest of infancy and beyond.
Tabeeze makes it easy to bond with your baby, so jump in head-first for your newest and grandest adventure.
Breast Crawl: Your First Breastfeed After Birth | Healthline
The Importance of Skin-to-Skin With Baby After Delivery | Sanford Health News
Pregnancy pushes the body nearly as much as endurance sports | Quartz
Early bonding with your baby creates 'golden hour' | Sanford Health News
Give 'Em Some Skin: Skin-to-skin contact between babies and parents | Stanford Children's Health.
Colostrum: What Is It, Benefits & What To Expect | Cleveland Clinic