The welcome which a baby receives as she comes out of the womb and into the world has a lasting and profound impact on her overall health and well-being.
The first hour is a crucial hour for the newborn as she is ejected from the comfort cocoon that was the womb into the cold and sterile hospital surroundings. Skin-to-skin contact with the mother at this stage helps to calm the baby.
What exactly is skin-to-skin contact?
Skin-to-skin care, or “Kangaroo Care,” means placing the dried and unclothed baby on her mother’s bare chest with a light blanket covering the baby’s body. Routine check-up of the mother and the baby can be conducted during this period, or it can be postponed till later.
Benefits of skin-to-skin contact:
- Several research studies have conclusively shown that babies who are given skin-to-skin contact immediately post birth show better physiological stability. Human touch helps stabilize the newborn’s respiration, increases glucose levels, gives warmth and regulates blood pressure.
- An infant separated from the mother or the ‘host,’ experiences physiological and psychological withdrawal, in addition to the anxiety of being removed from a stable and warm environment. At this stage, skin-to-skin contact established with the mother goes a long way in soothing the baby. The reassuring contact eases the separation process as the child is released from the umbilical cord and graduates from being ‘one’ organism with the mother to ‘another’.
- Oxytocin, or the ‘love hormone’ released during skin-to-skin contact helps mother and child bond better. Mothers who have cradled their newborn post birth are more likely to feel confident in their parenting abilities. Lack of skin-to-skin bonding and early separation of mother and baby may delay crucial maternal-infant bonding and may even negatively impact the mother’s response to her baby.
- Another very powerful and positive impact of establishing skin-to-skin contact after birth is that it facilitates breastfeeding. Mammals are born with the instinctive urge to breastfeed. When placed against the mother as soon as they are born they are able to find the breast and self-attach. Research shows that women who had skin-to-skin contact with their naked babies right after birth breastfeed longer and typically breastfeed months longer than mothers who did not get a chance to establish this contact.
Undoubtedly, the benefits of mother and baby skin-to-skin contact are manifold and far-reaching. Perhaps it is time to consider introducing this age-old tradition back in the modern delivery process. Hospitals and clinics must actively make use of this ‘golden hour’ or the first sixty minutes immediately post birth. Skin-to-skin contact should be established immediately after birth and should last for at least sixty minutes. This is a no-cost initiative which positively affects maternal and child outcomes.
Skin-to-skin bonding is a natural process which, over the years somehow de-linked from the clinical birthing process. Now is the time to actively introduce it back in the delivery and childbirth process.
Skin-to-skin contact is not yet very common in India. Now is the time to lobby to bring it into the mainstream! Did you get to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby right after delivery? Share your delivery story with us at email@example.com and be featured on our website!
30 May 2017
With the birth of a baby, comes in a lot of comparisons: of both the mother and the child. Everyone compares the mother to other mothers around or of the previous generation, the same goes for the children. Have we ever thought how -painful this could -be for the mother?
Comparing the mode of delivery (vaginal vs c section), type of feeding (Breastfeeding vs formula feeding), how the mother takes the child out (baby carriers vs strollers vs carrying them in arms). Everything that a woman does, is prone to judgement! Little do people realise that they criticise both sides of the coins. Nothing is really acceptable to them. This is like saying whatever you do, you will be judged, Woman!
In fact, even the babies aren’t spared. Why is he so lean? Why isn’t he rolling over yet, he is already 5 months old. Why isn’t he crawling/walking/talking yet? Why is he still breastfeeding? Why is he not potty/pee trained?
All these statements lead us to believe that there are two important solutions to these problems. one is receiving the acceptance from others around us and the second is accepting ourselves, as we are.
Acceptance from others
When the child is 5/10/15 years old, is anyone ever going to be bothered about when did he first rollover/crawl/walk/speak? Will anyone ever ask his mother how did she give birth to him? Or did she breastfeed him or not? If these things are not going to matter after a few years, why are we judging the women then? What kind of pleasure are we deriving out of this?
We spoke to 15 mothers and they told us that being judgmental is the easiest thing to do. While accepting things is difficult, it is not impossible. Let us do ourselves a favour and stop judging other women and their kids over various parameters.
What can be worse than nagging aunties/ neighbours/other women/colleagues, is when we judge ourselves.
- We need to accept that the toys will be strewn all over the house and it is perfectly alright to let it be like that. The laundry may not be done on time and the worse is that it may not even be hung out to dry on time.
- It is okay to take late and quick showersand have absolutely no time to even brush your hair every single day. Most mothers say that on most days, they brush their hair only when they wash them.
- We need to accept that children don’t sleep through the night for the first two years of their lives and it’s perfectly normal for a mother to feel sleepless. It’s a phase everyone goes through.
- Social life changes and YES, it is a big change. Mothers don’t get to go out alone on most days. In fact, mothers who stay in nuclear families don’t even get to use the washroom without their child(ren) being around. Women tend to lose out on friends as well. This is because not everyone would be interested in talking about baby potty, their feeding time etc. It’s time to make friends with other mommies now.
- It is normal for the kids to have bad days, the days when they are cranky, clingy and howling out. As a family, such moods rub off on each other and the parents become irritated as well. Let’s be honest, it is not easy to remain calm when the kid is crying and there is nothing that you can do to ease his pain. But as an adult, if we lose our cool, who will take care of the child?
Let’s accept that our lives have changed after the arrival of the baby. This small acceptance goes a long way in keeping ourselves happy. The end result being a happy mother leads to a happy child and eventually a happy family.
09 Jan 2019
The classic image of a mother nursing her baby is ingrained in us since time immemorial. Early breastfeeding is definitely a healthy start for the mother and child, but what do you do when it doesn’t happen that way?
Early Breastfeeding And Its Benefits:
Early breastfeeding is the process of beginning to feed the newborn right after, or within one hour of childbirth. Early breastfeeding has many benefits. Here are the top 5:
- The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends early initiation of breastfeeding, as it helps you and your child be committed to exclusive breastfeeding for longer. 
- The colostrum or early breast milk is rich in antibodies and nutrients. This gives newborns and their immunity a head start.
- Nursing the baby, when coupled with skin-to-skin contact in the early hours and days ensures that the newborn has a steady body temperature and blood sugar level. 
- Breastfeeding right after delivery can reduce the chances of hemorrhage for the mother. 
- In scenarios where care resources are low, regularly nursing the baby can help protect the newborn from infections and subsequent mortality. 
When Breastfeeding May Not Be An Option
However, mothers may struggle with early breastfeeding due to a variety of reasons. Practical considerations, including the best interest of the mother’s health, may prevent mothers from being able to feed their newborns themselves. As a new mother, keen to get every little step right for your precious child, it may be a huge disappointment when you learn that early breastfeeding may not be possible. Guilt will definitely loom large. Know that, as the mother, you’re doing your best. The rest you must leave to the medical professionals.
- A C-section or an episiotomy can both result in stitches and pain of varying degrees. In such situations, it may not be advisable or possible for you to assume a sitting position and hold your baby. In due course, your doctor may advise suitable breastfeeding positions to try.
- Some mothers find that milk doesn’t flow after delivery, for reasons beyond anyone’s control. Putting undue pressure on yourself in these situations can be counter-productive and even detrimental to your health.
- In some rare cases, such as need for further surgeries or procedures, either the mother or the child may be too indisposed. During such situations, breast feeding is not the primary concern.
- Due to medical complications, a newborn may be placed in the NICU, where physical access to the mother might be restricted. It would be in the best interest of the baby to first avert the medical crisis and then attempt breastfeeding.
- The mother may experience swollen and painful breasts, or even abscesses, that prevent her from being able to breastfeed. Treating the mother’s discomfort becomes first priority.
- Even if you have to discontinue after an early start, always put yourself first and allow yourself to heal. The doctors and nurses will attend to the baby.
Whatever the reason may be, if you find that you aren’t breast feeding easily, relax and don’t stress. If you think you would like to give it another shot, a lactation consultant or the gynecologist can give you breastfeeding tips or help teach you how to breastfeed. Every mother and child cherishes the bond of breastfeeding, but thankfully today alternatives are available to ensure the child’s health is not disadvantaged in any way.
Do you have a story of your own, or breastfeeding tips for other moms? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and be featured on our website!
- Early initiation of breastfeeding to promote exclusive breastfeeding, World Health Organization
- Breastfeeding, Alive and Thrive Technical Resources
- Begum, Khadija, and Kathryn G. Dewey. “Impact of early initiation of exclusive breastfeeding on newborn deaths.” (2010).
30 May 2017