Milford Regional Medical Center is committed to providing the most current and best practices in maternity care. That includes working towards becoming a Baby-Friendly hospital. UNICEF and the World Health Organization outlines the requirements that are crucial to this prestigious recognition as the “Ten Steps”. Our past blogs have covered some of the steps already.
The very first thing we can do to support this step immediately after birth is called Skin to Skin. That is “placing babies in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers immediately after birth for at least an hour and encourage mothers to recognize when their babies are ready to breastfeed, offering help if needed.” Skin-to-skin means your baby is placed belly down, directly on your chest, right after birth. Your baby will be dried off and covered with a warm blanket
When babies are placed skin-to-skin immediately after birth they use their infant reflexes to move toward the breast to feed. This is often referred to as the “breastfeeding crawl.” Babies use all of their senses – smell, touch, and even vision to facilitate the crawl. This allows the initial imprint to occur and is the very important first step to support breastfeeding during that first beautiful hour of alertness after birth.
Multiple studies over the past 30 years have shown the benefits of skin-to-skin contact. The mother’s chest is the best place for baby to adjust to life in the outside world. Compared to babies who are swaddled or kept in a crib, skin-to-skin babies stay warmer and calmer, cry less, and have better blood sugars. A recent study (2015) found that women who did not have an opportunity to skin-to-skin and breastfeed after delivery were almost twice as likely to have a post-partum hemorrhage.
Skin-to-skin cuddling may also affect how you relate with your baby. Researchers have watched mothers and infants in the first few days after birth, and they noticed that skin-to-skin moms touched and cuddled their babies more. Continuing skin-to-skin after you leave the hospital will continue to provide benefits for bonding, soothing, and breastfeeding.We have had great success and response from patients who have had the opportunity to use skin-to-skin immediately after birth and into the early newborn weeks.
To further support this important step, Milford Regional Medical Center has recently set aside a time for you to prioritize skin-to-skin, bonding and breastfeeding. Our formal quiet time is each day from 2-4 pm. Visitors are asked to honor this special time for parents and babies. Parents have told us they love this special time! It allows for much needed rest in preparation for frequent night feeds.
Learn more about our breastfeeding support services.