Babies are amazing!
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Our perfect cocktail of hormones, which guides us through birthing our babies, also prepares them for the big transition they're about to commence. As the intensity of labour builds, our baby's digestive, respiratory and immune systems are completing the finishing touches for life outside the womb. A last rush of adrenaline gives them the final oomph right before birth, and they are ready to start breathing on their own...and feeding.
When birth is undisturbed, babies will be alert and will soon start looking for the breast, bobbing their heads and crawling on mum's chest. Skin to skin and a peaceful and supportive environment will allow baby to latch on the breast and start feeding, usually within the first hour after birth. When interventions have been introduced along the way, whether medical interventions or pharmacological pain relief, babies may have a slower start but they are still capable of performing the same actions, just in their own time.
Babies need to feed frequently and the first 3 days are crucial to establish good milk supply down the line. Spending lots of time skin to skin and hand expressing should be advised to all parents, but especially those who have had more medical involvement during their labour.
If you're planning to bottle feed, skin to skin is a wonderful tool to support your baby's development, bonding and your own recovery.