The Golden Hour. What is it and why is it important?

The Golden Hour. What is it and why is it important?

The Golden Hour is that first hour after delivery where mum and baby have uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact for at least the first one to two hours.

As long as mum and baby are well, immediate and continuous skin-to-skin contact is recommended for some incredible bonding and a first breastfeeding experience.

The first step to the Golden hour is skin-to-skin contact when possible.

It not only promotes bonding but important hormone production can begin in the form of Oxytocin. Oxytocin is known at the “the love hormone” that helps with emotions such as trust, bond, and positivity.

Incredible baby instincts can come into play, where the newborn is able to find the breast and latch with little to no, help

This is a proven phenomenon called the “breast crawl”.

On the mother's chest in the first few minutes after birth, that baby will start to move towards it's mother's nipple. Babies do this by moving their legs as if stepping or by pushing upward in tiny movements with their arms.

Some tips from Paediatric Nurse, Postpartum Doula, Hypnobirthing Educator and founder of Illoura Birth, Vanessa says, 

"Get your Golden Hour! This is crucial for the mother-baby bond and initiation of breastfeeding.

The Golden Hour is a set of evidence-based practices to allow the baby to transition from womb to world and promote the hormonal changes after birth we need.

If you don’t get your golden hour, aim for as much skin-to-skin in the days after birth. Your baby will love this, and your hormones will love it even more.

Allow your baby to demand feed as they need, and ensure you have the support around you to help guide you and your baby to optimise latching and comfort in positioning."

Joelleen Winduss Paye
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Endorsed Midwife, Naturopath & Educator talks about those first post-birth instincts in one of our M. Magazine articles (Breastfeeding 101) but also reminds us to give yourself some time as it's a learning process for both mother and baby.

Good news too if you don't get the chance for this Golden Hour moment, there is an opportunity to catchup!

"Instincts can be strong yet blurred, so give yourself grace as you have only been a mother for a few moments. Intuition needs repetition to grow, and there is a lot of pressure on parents to act from intuition very early on.

Skin-to-skin is all you need at this moment. It may not feel like it but your bodies together are achieving so much as the hormonal dance unfolds. Your baby will know your voice and may surprise you with how alert they are.

Try to protect this early time as much as possible with dim lighting, warmth, privacy and delaying any non-urgent tasks until the first breastfeed is completed.

For mothers and babies who don't get to enjoy these precious moments immediately post-birth for whatever reason, I suggest playing catch up and making up for the lost time with unlimited skin-to-skin when you and your baby are reunited."


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