Today, we're diving into an incredibly important aspect of childbirth – the golden hour after birth.

This magical period, often overlooked, is a time of immense significance for both the baby and the mother.

So, grab a cup of RRL tea, get cozy, and let's explore why the golden hour is a precious time that should be cherished.

Importance of the Golden Hour:

The term “golden hour” refers to the first hour after the baby is born.

However, I firmly believe that it should be extended to the entire day.

This special time allows the baby to transition smoothly from the protected cocoon of the womb to the outside world. Numerous studies and scientific research have highlighted the critical role this period plays in the baby's development and well-being.

Immediate Skin-to-Skin Contact:

As soon as the baby is born, it is crucial to have immediate skin-to-skin contact with the mother. This means placing the baby directly on the mother's bare chest.

By doing so, we create a nurturing environment that mimics the warmth and safety of the womb. This closeness helps regulate the baby's body temperature, respiratory system, and blood sugar levels – three vital factors that contribute to a healthy start in life.

Engaging the Senses:

During the golden hour, the baby relies on all five senses to navigate this new world. Let's take a closer look at each sense and how it contributes to the transition:

1. Smell: The baby has become familiar with the scent of the amniotic fluid and the mother's unique fragrance during pregnancy. By keeping the baby unwashed and allowing their skin to make direct contact with the mother, we provide a comforting and recognizable smell that aids in acclimation.

2. Sound: The soothing sound of the mother's voice is incredibly powerful. The baby has been listening to the mother's voice throughout pregnancy and recognizes its comforting tone. Talking softly and sharing hopes, dreams, prayers, and reassurances with the baby strengthens the bond and helps them feel secure during this critical period.

3. Sight: Even a newborn baby has developed a remarkable ability to focus and see within a specific range. Placing the baby within 8 to 10 inches of the mother's face allows them to lock eyes, creating a profound connection. This intimate gaze has been aptly called the “mother newborn gaze” and is a truly awe-inspiring moment to witness.

4. Touch: Skin-to-skin contact is not only essential for temperature regulation but also for making the baby feel safe. Encouraging the mother and her partner to have their hands on the baby's body, gently caressing and providing tactile reassurance, furthers the sensation of security and fosters a smoother transition.

Creating an Optimal Environment:

To maximize the benefits of the golden hour, it is crucial to create a calm and peaceful environment. Dimming the lights after birth and minimizing external interruptions from staff and visitors helps protect the baby's delicate senses. The focus should be on the mother and baby bonding, without unnecessary procedures or disturbances.

Birth Plan Considerations:

When constructing your birth plan, it is essential to advocate for the golden hour. Communicate your intentions to the medical team and request that unnecessary procedures be postponed until after this sacred time. Your birth partner can play an active role by ensuring a calm atmosphere and providing support.

Golden Hour After Cesarean Births:

Even if you are having a cesarean birth, the golden hour is still incredibly important. Requesting immediate skin-to-skin contact in the operating room allows for early bonding and facilitates the regulation of vital bodily functions for both the mother and baby. Advocacy for this precious time is vital, as it sets the foundation for a positive breastfeeding experience and overall post-birth well-being.

The golden hour is not just a passing moment; it is a profound transition that impacts both the baby and the mother.

By embracing this time and recognizing its significance, we can create an environment that supports the baby's well-being and fosters a deep connection between mother and child.

Remember, you are the baby's regulator, and your nurturing presence during this time sets the stage for a beautiful journey together.

Want to take my free birth prep class, where we'll discuss essential strategies for your birthing experience. Go to Instagram and use the #prep to secure your free seat. I can't wait to see you there!

Remember, the golden hour is a time to treasure and protect. Embrace this sacred moment, for it is the start of a beautiful journey with your little one.

More From This Episode:

Read the blog: The Golden Hour after Birth and Why You Should Protect it at all Costs


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Next Steps with LNM:

If you are ready to invest in your pregnancy & postpartum journey, you are in the right place. I would love to take your hand and support you in your virtual labor room!

If you are ready to dive into a birth class and have your best and most powerful birth story, then Calm Labor Confident Birth or The VBAC Lab is your next step.

If you have a scheduled cesarean, take our Belly Birth Masterclass and own that experience.

If you are a newly pregnant mama or just had the babe, you want to join our private pregnancy and postpartum membership, Calm Mama Society.

Remember, my advice is not medical advice. Always discuss what you learn with your team. See my Disclaimer here! Also, We make a small commission from some of the links (you don’t pay any more for using our links); however some of the recommendations, we do not earn anything; we love ’em and want you to know about them.


TRISH: [00:00:00] My name is Trish Ware and I am obsessed with all things pregnancy and birth and helping you to navigate with the practical and the magical seasons of this journey called motherhood. I'm an all day coffee sipping mama of seven. I've had the amazing privilege of delivering many babies. And my 15 plus year career as a labor and delivery nurse and as a mama of seven. 

I'm here to help you take the guesswork out of childbirth so you can make the choices that are right for you and your baby. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and does not replace your medical advice. Check out our full disclaimer at the bottom of the show notes. 

I have a very thorough blog post all about the golden hour after birth, which is your first hour [00:01:00] after baby comes. And this is Such an important time, not just for you, but also for the baby. There is literally so many studies and science behind how important this first time is with the baby. And in fact, I really hate that we say the golden hour because it really should be that day. 

Should be that whole day and the baby should be right there with you. And so what I recommend to the mamas inside of my courses, inside of my virtual services, is that we protect that time, like we're going to put up barriers. And so the important part of that is you have to know what is necessary and what is not necessary, what is convenient for the staff. 

And if it's just convenience for the staff, then we don't care, right? That's not important to us. So the reason it's called the golden hour is because that sweet little baby is going into a [00:02:00] transitional period. They have been living inside of you. All cocooned, all safe, all perfect temperature, dim lights, and connected to you. 

They haven't been using their lungs. They've been getting all of their sustenance from the cord. And now So now they've been like thrown into the new world, right? So as soon as the baby comes out of you, right after birth, as soon as the cord is clamped and cut and they're separated from you and they take that first breath, their system does this big change, this big switcheroo, right? 

And it goes from them being able to be inside of you and not using their lungs. Them not using their lungs to them needing to use their lungs and that is all I won't go into all the details But it's all based on that pressure change as soon as the cord is clamped They take their first breath and they [00:03:00] cry right? 

This is why in the olden days. Oh, I don't let's see I've got my props right here So that this is why in the old days they used to spank the baby's bottom to get them crying because they felt like they had To do that cry. They don't necessarily have to do that cry Like that, we don't want them spanking their bottoms. 

But you remember back in the day in old movies and in real life, the doctor would smack them on the bottom. That's not a really good. Welcome to the new world. So what I want to talk about, let me get my notes. So I make sure I've got everything. When they're inside of you, they're getting all the oxygen from your placenta through the cord. 

And once they come out, so when they're inside of you, they have a hole in their heart that bypasses what they're going to use once they're on the outside. So as soon as that pressure changes after birth, that, that hole closes or it should, right? And now their lungs are going to be doing their job. That is a big transition. 

That is a big switch, [00:04:00] right? So we want to make sure that baby during this first hour is where they're going to transition the best. Anybody have a guess? What transitions them the best during that first hour. 

It's you. It's mama. So all of their senses are gonna play a part in this transition during this And I'm gonna say golden hour, but I want you guys to hear me As long as you possibly can, keeping them skin to skin in those first couple days is like the best thing you can do for your baby and for you. 

It'll help regulate your hormones and I'm going to tell you exactly what it does for them. Because it's really, truly astounding what happens after birth. And I've got a whole series of blog posts on this. I'll link to them. Let [00:05:00] me write it down because you know I'll forget. Let me put Okay, so baby comes out. 

The first thing that we want to happen when baby comes out is to be touching you. What I recommend is you don't have a gown on. You don't have a baby blanket between you and baby. It's literally skin to skin. Baby is right on your skin. Because, like I said, they're going to use all of their senses to acclimate and to transition. 

And we want that to be as smooth and easy as possible for the baby. So do we want to let the nurse take the baby to get weighed? No. Do we want to let the nurse take the baby to do an assessment? No. Do they need to get their length and all the different things? No, that can all wait because really the most important thing is the baby has a smooth transition and all of that is centered around mama, all of it. 

So let's talk about, I've got myself notes, so I stay. [00:06:00] So I can stay on track. So one of the coolest things ever, and I'll link to the blog post so you can see the video, but one of the coolest things, if a baby is left alone, uninterrupted, and we place the baby on the mama, the baby can actually do what's called a newborn crawl, and they can actually crawl up to your breast and get on your breast. 

Now, most of us experience something way different than that. And I'm going to. Take a little gander to say that it's because of us intervene, interrupting and doing all the things that we do. But if we didn't do all that and we left the baby to their mama, mom and baby alone, not touching, not moving, not re, rearranging, not interrupting, the baby's going to get to the breast. 

They do the breast call. However, what most of us experience is like more difficulty with that 1st breastfeeding, which if you guys can tap something or let me know you, you [00:07:00] agree that this is what's happened for you as well. Most babies and mamas 1st time in their breastfeeding, they have difficulty and they have trouble and it's not it doesn't come natural, and there's all these things, but I would say that it has a lot to do with the environment, and the vibe, and how comfortable you feel. 

The more we can leave you alone and uninterrupted, the more smooth this natural process will go. So What I want you to put in your birth plan is to say that you want the lights dim right after baby comes out, repair is done, whatever the doctor needs to do, they need to dim the lights for you and baby. 

When they dim the lights, the baby's little eyes just pop open. Because they need to use how many senses? All five senses. So what's really cool is the distance that the baby can see is about From your chest to your face because that's where they need to be is right there so they can see you So let's start [00:08:00] with the sense of smell so the sense of smell is one of the biggest factors that we need to protect during a That immediate skin to skin. 

I read this study about the breast crawl, what I was telling you about. And part of that newborn breast crawl is that the baby will come to the smell of the breast and to the smell of the amniotic fluid. When you reach down, you grab your baby, your newborn, you're getting that familiar smell all over your hands and then onto your chest and onto your breast. 

So don't wipe it off. If it's meconium or something, that's fine. You can go ahead. But as far as what you've touched the baby as the baby comes out, it is actually part of that process for the baby to smell the environment they just came from, which is amniotic fluid. fluid and vernix and all the fun stuff that comes out on the baby. 

So as you bring your baby up to you, you can just rub it on you and that's [00:09:00] going to let the baby smell it and be more acclimated and get adjusted. So no clean boobs here, ladies. That boob smell is actually a part of that process too. So that sweaty smell, the amniotic fluid, the vernix getting all over you, that's so much a part. 

of this process. So this is why we don't want a gown. You don't want the gown to absorb all that goodness. You want it to go straight to your skin. And as you move the baby around on your chest, you're getting more of it on your chest, which is helping your baby say, this is safe. This is a good place. This is where I need to be. 

And the next thing we're going to talk about is their hearing, right? So as far as they're hearing their sense of sound, the soothing sound of your voice. They know that and they may know your partner's voice as well, or whoever was with you the most during your pregnancy. So talk to your baby. Sing to your baby. 

Make sure that your [00:10:00] partner, your birth coach, your birth plan all says during those 1st, couple hours. I don't want a lot of chaos. I don't want staff in and out being loud. I want the lights dim because you want to protect. These brand new baby senses that are, all 5 of them are directed to you in the baby and it's so incredible to watch and so that when you're murmuring to your baby, when they're laying there, so you've got your baby, laying right here, right in the safety zone. 

And you're murmuring to your baby. Your baby knows that voice. The baby recognizes that voice, and it's soothing. So tell the baby all your hopes and dreams. Tell the baby all the prayers that you've prayed for the baby. Just remember to have everyone else should be talking quietly and not interrupting this process of the baby listening to you and hearing you. 

And then, like I said, the sense of sight. We've got the sense of sight that's playing as well. So a [00:11:00] baby that is placed on its mother's chest. Okay. This is so insane. And I have had the honor of witnessing this so many times. And it honestly gives you the chills when you see birth and you see the similarities and a birth in California, a birth in India, a birth in the UK, anywhere. 

There's similarities and 1 of them is this mother newborn gaze. And so if your baby is 8 to 10 inches, they can see about 8 to 10 inches. If a baby is laying on its mother's chest, and this happens with so many births, you guys, it literally gives me the jails. The baby will find the mom's eyes and the mom and the baby will lock onto each other. 

And we call it like the mother gaze or the mother baby gaze. I don't remember what it is, but it's such an incredible process. It's so hard to like adequately explain. But I remember one [00:12:00] time I was, cleaning up after a delivery and I was getting everything organized and I was talking quietly to my patient and I looked over and I, it just. 

It literally just took my breath away because it's one of the most beautiful experiences to get to witness and what an honor that I've witnessed it so many times. But the way that a baby looks into its mother's eyes, it's like they know each other. It's just, it's crazy and it's really amazing to behold. 

So don't let anyone take that from you. Don't. Alright, so the sense of sound we've talked about, the sense of sight, the sense of touch. So part of this transition is you touching the baby. I always recommend that your partner, your birth coach, wheels up a chair next to you. We put your bed down as low as possible. 

If you're having a home birth, have your partner get into bed with the two of you. Both of you have hands on top of the baby and make sure [00:13:00] they're clean, except for yours, but your partner has not been touching birth stuff. So you want to everybody to get in there and touch on the baby. Not everybody you and your partner. 

Not everyone else, because the touch is going to help the baby acclimate as well. What's really amazing about what happens on top of the mama, some of our biggest concerns when your babies are born are blood sugar control, them being warm, temperature control, and are they learning how to breathe properly? 

The respirations, the temperature control, and the blood sugar, guess what regulates that? Anybody have a guess? You being skin to skin with mom actually regulates all the systems that were worried about. So what they've been working on and what we're leaning towards is even doing resuscitation on top of mom, because mom's breathing mom's temperature mom's voice, the sight of mom. 

[00:14:00] All regulates those different systems that we are so concerned about when baby is born. And if we can have baby on mom and their breathing regulates, that is much better than us doing anything a little more invasive. So here's your key takeaways today. Okay. Know what is happening with your body, with your birth, with your baby. 

If if you go into your birth empowered and ready, then you're gonna know if it's appropriate for them to take the baby off of you. If it's a time that baby should leave you. I personally say the only reason babies should leave you is if the baby needs resuscitation. And like I said, some hospitals are doing resuscitation on top of mom because it makes sense. 

You are the baby's regulator. Research the breast curl, watch a video, or you can look at my blog posts because you will just. It's truly miraculous looking. Remember that the baby uses the sense of smell, sound, sight, [00:15:00] touch. You want to protect all of those things. So to protect the smell, don't wash your hands. 

Get the juices all over you. Let the baby be directly skin to skin. The sound you're going to ask the room and the staff and everyone to keep their voices down so baby can hear you and your partner. The sense of sight you want the baby within 8 to 10 inches of your face, so they can gaze into your face and have that beautiful connecting moment, the sense of touch you and your partner, keep your hands on baby skin to skin. 

They're on you, so that's the touch and then you can put your hands on them, use a soothing voice and talk to them. Tell them how much you love them. You guys can tell this baby your hopes and dreams for this baby because your voice also regulates them. Wash off for a little while and just remember to keep the labor room calm because we don't want anything to interrupt any of those things. 

We want to be able to let the baby [00:16:00] transition as gently and naturally as possible. If you're having a cesarean, you can still do a lot of these and they should be letting you do skin to skin starting in the operating room. You should not have to wait until the PACU and I would fight that so you're blue in the face because your baby didn't go through the vaginal birth delivery, which does a lot of things that the baby needs. 

So the baby, those C section babies need that skin to skin. So badly. And you need it because it also regulates you and calms you down. So a lot of times when we're doing repairs or something, if we put the baby on mom, her vital signs will regulate as well. So you and baby should not be separated at all. 

Not at all. So I hope you guys, I hope this sunk [00:17:00] in.