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The Magic Hour

The first hour after birth is often referred to as the magic or golden hour. These terms were given to the first few hours because of the many benefits for mom and baby that occur during this time. If mom and baby are both healthy enough, this time is ideally spent with baby skin to skin with mom.

This time allows for natural bonding to occur and helps with mom’s natural hormone production. Your baby’s first few hours after entering the world are important and spending this time bonding has shown remarkable benefits. A few of the benefits for mom and baby when baby spends this time skin to skin are:

Assisting in mom’s natural production of oxytocin

Promotes relaxation

Helps with baby’s temperature regulation

Promotes early breast feeding

Promotes bonding

Boosts baby’s immune system

Here are a few ways you can help optimize this important time

There are circumstances when mom or baby are unable to safely experience immediate skin to skin contact. In some cases, infants are born prematurely, require some assistance with breathing or transitioning after birth, or need close observation or monitoring which may delay or prevent skin to skin contact. Sometimes mom’s health or condition after delivery may cause her to be unable to hold infant skin to skin.

If this is your experience, do not feel you have completely missed out on your opportunity to bond or achieve these benefits. As you and/or your baby are healthy enough for skin to skin contact, spending time each day holding your infant skin to skin with you and your partner will provide you and your baby with these benefits as well.

Leanne Shelton, RN, BSN, Labor & Delivery Nurse, Doula
Leanne lives in Virginia with her husband and two children. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Texas Arlington and a Master of Science in Education at Old Dominion University. She is a labor and delivery nurse supporting moms and families throughout labor, delivery, and postpartum.