The First Hour of Life

The period immediately after your baby's birth will be an exciting, awesome and exhilarating experience. In these moments, with your baby close to you, all your dreams, hopes and plans come together.

Because many parents want the period right after birth kept for themselves and their baby, they have told their obstetrician or midwife in advance that they would like to have this time without interruption. It is a significant and moving experience that they will always remember.

To allow this first intimate encounter, we strongly recommend that the injection of vitamin K, application of eye ointment, washing of the infant and any measuring of the baby's weight, height and head circumference be delayed for at least an hour. More than 90 percent of all full-term infants are normal at birth, and in a few moments they can be evaluated to assure that they are healthy.

After the birth, your newborn should be thoroughly dried with warm towels so as not to lose heat. Once it's clear that he has good color and is active and normal (usually determined within one to five minutes), he can be placed between your breasts, on your abdomen or right next to you as the two of you and your partner rest together.

When newborns are kept close to their mother's body, they apparently feel safe, and the transition from life in the womb to existence outside the uterus is made much easier for them. The newborn also recognizes his mother's voice and smell, and her body warms his -- faster and in a healthier way than if placed in a bassinet fully covered with blankets or in an incubator.

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