The “Golden Hour” has become very popular to discuss within the birthing community in the past few years.
The Golden Hour is mostly defined as that special hour after birth where a mother and newborn are skin to skin, bonding, and attempting breastfeeding if chosen.
There are many hospitals that are moving to baby friendly policies, one of which is protecting the Golden Hour if possible.
Challenges With The Golden Hour
The Golden Hour can have some challenges with the delivery of placenta, any repairs, and other medical things that need to happen. Sometimes breastfeeding and that first latch is a high priority and assisting the baby and mother becomes dominate. However, babies are wired with a natural ability to pursue that first latch.
The Golden Hour is Fluid
An important aspect of the Golden Hour to remember is that this time is fluid. If you are not 100% present due to lingering pain medication, you will still bond with your baby. If you do not get that magically first latch, you still can have a successful breastfeeding relationship. If your baby needs some special medical attention, you can still have that skin to skin time when they are healthy. You can also still have the self-latch moment by leaning back in your bed (also hospital bed, if you have not been discharged) and allowing baby to crawl to your breast.
Self Latch For Newborns
Did you know baby’s hands have amniotic fluid on them and after birth the nipples secrete fluid that smells similar? This helps the baby make their way to the nipple to latch for the first time.
How amazing is that?! If left alone, babies will use their legs to push themselves up to the breast and get the first latch. Typically, right after birth babies are calm and resting, they will then become more alert and begin to search for the breast. Babies can make their way to the breast with little help, once they get the first good latch and feed, they typically are sleepy again.
We hope this information regarding breastfeeding, the Golden Hour, and importance continues to be part of the education pregnant women receive. We love this video from the world health organization that demonstrates this concept.