The Sacred Hour and Beyond: Critical Importance of Uninterrupted Skin to Skin in the First Hour after Birth & Supporting Exclusive Breastfeeding in the Early Postpartum Period
The fist part of training session: Healthy babies and mothers belong together in the uniquely special time immediately following birth. There are many well-documented short- and long-term benefits for both mothers and babies when they have uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact after birth, including increased physiologic stability for both, increased maternal bonding behaviors, protection from the negative effects of maternal-infant separation, support for optimal infant brain development, and increased breastfeeding initiation and duration. When babies are placed skin to skin with their mothers, there are nine observable stages of newborn behavior that lead to the first unassisted breastfeeding. During this presentation, these nine stages will be illustrated and described and practical ways to change the culture of hospitals to support uninterrupted skin to skin after birth will be discussed.
The second part of the training session: Being together immediately after birth gets babies off to the right start, but it is only the beginning of the support mothers need to achieve the optimal goal of exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for at least the first year after birth. We will explore the research supporting this goal as well as practical ways to help mothers overcome common challenges in the first few days postpartum such as infant crying, fear of inadequate milk supply and painful nursing. We will also discuss the risk for some babies of hypoglycemia, hyperbilirubinemia and early weigh loss and how best to support exclusive breastfeeding for these babies whenever possible.