Embracing the Golden Hour: A Sacred Time After Birth

The moment a baby enters the world is an extraordinary and magical event. Amid the chaos and excitement that surrounds childbirth, there exists a precious and serene period known as the “Golden Hour.” This sacred time, typically occurring within the first hour after delivery, holds immense significance for both mother and baby.

The Golden Hour is the immediate period after birth when the mother and her newborn are given the opportunity to connect, skin-to-skin. It is a time when the world slows down, allowing the family to savor the first moments of their newfound relationship. This brief period is a time for bonding, emotional healing, and the initiation of essential physiological processes.

The 9 Stages of Golden Hour

  1. The Birth Cry – the birth cry occurs immediately after birth as the baby’s lungs expand.
  2. Relaxation – This stage occurs after the birth cry. The newborn does not exhibit any mouth movements and the hands are relaxed. 
  3. Awakening – Usually about 3 minutes after birth, the baby makes small thrusts in the neck and shoulders. The eyes may open. 
  4. Activity – About 8 minutes after birth, the newborn’s rooting reflex becomes more obvious, with mouthing and sucking movements.
  5. Rest – the baby may take periods of rest in between activity at any point.
  6. Crawling/Slide – Around half an hour after birth, the baby approaches the breast with short periods of activity to the nipple and breast.
  7. Familiarization – Around 45 minutes after birth, the newborn touches, licks, smells, and massages the breast and nipple. This period can last for 20 minutes or more.
  8. Suckling – The baby will take the nipple, self-attach, and begin to suckle. This stage usually occurs at about an hour of life, but it may take longer with skin to skin if the mother has had analgesia/anesthesia during labor.
  9. Sleep – At about 15 minutes to 2 hours after birth, the baby may go into a restful sleep.

What To Do In The First Hour After Birth

Ideally, you and your baby will be covered with a blanket. The baby’s head will stay out and the baby will be naked and not wrapped. Necessary checks and procedures should be done with the mother and baby skin to skin. If there are medical reasons that keep you from holding your baby skin to skin immediately after birth, start as soon as possible.

The Benefits of Skin to Skin

Skin to skin regulates the baby’s heart rate, breathing, and helps the baby regulate their body temperature. Skin to skin facilitates early breastfeeding and may improve the mother’s milk supply. The physical closeness stimulates the release of oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone,” fostering a sense of security and trust between mother and baby. Skin to Skin can also enable the colonization of the baby’s skin with the mother’s friendly bacteria providing protection against infection. Remember, other family members can hold and bond with the baby through skin to skin holding as well!

The Golden Hour is a unique and irreplaceable time that marks the beginning of a lifelong journey for both mother and baby. Embracing this sacred period fosters a deep connection, supports the baby’s transition to the outside world, and promotes emotional healing for the mother. By recognizing the importance of the Golden Hour, we celebrate the beauty and resilience of the human body, as well as the profound love that accompanies the arrival of a new family member.  

It is an honor to support you on this journey. Please do not hesitate to call us with questions about the information we are providing.