"The Golden Hour" first few hours after birth

Updated: Oct 20

nursing parent reclines on a sofa with their legs tucked under a nursing baby for support

I just started reading a book titled "The Nine Golden Months" - this is a pregnancy book by my favorite author Heng Ou..., but today I wanted to post more about the "Golden Hour(s)" after having a baby.

So, what's that anyway? This golden hour is the time when the baby is just birthed to a couple of hours or so after birth. Why is this the "golden hour"? If a baby is encouraged to do the "nipple crawl" and find mama's breast on his or her own terms - there is a better likely-ness of the baby having a successful first latch and breastfeeding. This is also called the Thompson Method. The Thompson method encourages mother and baby to meet on their own terms for breastfeeding.

One of my personal (Julie talking here) breastfeeding experiences was the nurse coming into the room and basically forcing the baby onto my breast. It just didn't feel right for a first feed or two. I thought this couldn't be correct! I believe this happened with my second child - my first boy. Our nursing relationship was better than my daughter's breastfeeding (later for that story). However, my son was a bit sensitive to noises. When I went to a friend's house one time for some party and I took my breastfeeding son with me, he would not have anything to do with nursing where other people were gathered. I had to go get into a bedroom and finally he nursed. So, I believe our first time nursing and forcing him onto the breast was not that helpful. I really wish I had known about the Thompson method and the "golden hour" time.

Part of the golden hour is not having the baby bathed right away and quickly get the weighing in done and measurements - because this is the time for mama and baby - not for all this other interventions - or you can even ask the staff to wait an hour or so before they do this - it is not necessary to take the baby away right after birth. You may want to put this in your birth plan for sure. And baths can wait till you get home or at least the next day if you are staying at the hospital overnight (depending on time of baby's birth, etc.) I usually waited till the next day with mine.

Also, interventions like shots and such can wait an hour as well - the bonding time and getting breastfeeding established right away is so important. (Or if you aren't doing shots - then you can tell the staff that - we only did Vitamin K at the hospital).

Another thing if a mother has a C-section or other trauma - then she still needs to attempt the golden hour - she should still have access to the baby right after birth, etc.

Anyway, think about the nursing relationship when you are working as a doula - if doulas are reading this.

Mamas who are preparing for birth - should consider looking more into this golden hour and have this one or two hours after birth be like a big "do not disturb me" sign on the door! All the little things the staff wants to do can wait. I (Julie) do remember my second son, we waited for a couple of hours to weigh him and I breastfed him first - so he weighed in at 8 lbs. 3 oz. a little chunk for sure (I am tiny - so that's comparable to having a 10 lb. baby for someone else!)

Anyway, so I will get back to that book about "The Nine Golden Months" and write a book review on that as well. Thank you for reading this blog.

If you ever want any doula help or tips go to www.doulamoney.com


Sydney Pauker is a Certified Doula and Breast Feeding Counselor that has proudly served Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding areas since 2017. She considers it an honor to share her expertise, experiences, and passion for birth with expecting families and looks forward to supporting you!

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