You’re in labor and in transition. Now it’s almost time to see and hold your new baby. As you start to push you feel your baby move through your body and out. You, your partner, your midwife or your doctor catches the baby and places he or she on your belly for you to hold for the very first time. Baby is slimy and wet and maybe crying to clear their lungs. Your very excited. The umbilical cord is not getting cut right away to allow the blood from the placenta to continually pump to your baby. Baby pinks up and starts to settle down. Baby turns to hear your voice and/or your partners voice. Wow. What a little miracle that started from an egg and a sperm. Life is great.
But wait. We need to remember that your newborn is being born into an alien world from their own. This little being has been swimming around in water playing with their umbilical cord, practicing drinking, blinking his eyes, sucking their thumb and being totally taken care of. Now all of a sudden there is gravity, lights and noises and smells and who knows what that they have to deal with. Poor little babies. Mamas, Daddy’s and anyone else in the room seems to sometime forget. As humans, we need to start remembering to treat these newborns with respect and remember where they were for 9 months. Here’s some tips to do just that.
Here’s some tips.
No bright lights during birth. Babies have been in semi-darkness for 9 months. Help them adjust by turning the lights down during their birth. Not totally off, but turn it down. I know it can be difficult in a hospital setting. You can ask. All they can say is no. But ask again.
Watch the noise level. Obviously when your pushing you may be very vocal and that’s all good, but when baby is born and put on your belly, have people in the room lower their voices. It could make transition
for your baby easier.
If your in the hospital, make sure that the nurse turns off your IV. I’ve seen babies get very upset at the alarms that the IV pole makes when it needs attention. Can you imagine being in a nice muffled space and all of a sudden an alarm goes off? It can really upset them.
Try to give baby at least 24 hours before you mess with them too much, accept to nurse and be cuddled. Let them at least begin to adjust to the outside world. What does this mean? Well it can mean different things for different births. Obviously if baby is in need of additional care, you can’t really wait. But if everything is good, then have the staff leave them alone with you for about 24 hours. I know it’s a long time, but do what you can. I know hospitals have “golden” hours now. That’s great. How about a “golden” 6 hours or even longer. I really think it would make a difference with babies. Do I have any research backing this up? No. Only my gut instinct and attending many, many births as a doula.
When you get home, do skin to skin every day for at least a few hours. You're supposed to be resting an adjusting as a new family, right? Well newborns need to adjust too so make their first few days on this earth be gentle days of love.
If you have any other suggestions and/or these suggestions helped you in any way, let me know please. I would really appreciate any feedback you may have.
In love and peace for you and your family,