The first hour after birth is sometimes referred to as the “Golden Hour” because of the many important things that take place during this time. There are a variety of benefits to having your baby spend the first hour of their life skin to skin with their mom including a natural immunity boost and improved body system regulation. So what happens during the first hour after birth? Read on to see the progression from the moment your baby is born to the end of the “Golden Hour.”
In the Beginning
Right after your baby is born, it is typical for them to scream or cry until they are placed onto mother’s skin. After making skin to skin contact with mom, babies will enter a brief period of stillness and silence. For many new moms, this initial snuggle time is one of their favorite things about the first hour after birth. At some point during these early moments, your child will open their eyes for the first time and gradually begin moving their head and mouth. All in preparation for the activity that is about to begin.
After your newborn opens their eyes for the first time, your child will start a series of events that lead up their first nursing session. The first thing you will notice is that your newborn will begin to keep their eyes open for longer periods (up to five minutes at a time). With their eyes open, your baby will look into their mother’s eyes and prepare for their journey. They will exhibit signs of hunger such as making little hungry cries or moving their hands toward their mouth. However, it is probable that your baby will take a rest before beginning their migration up to mom’s breast for the first feeding. Interestingly enough, according to Science News, they are heavily guided by their sense of smell during this phase rather than their sight.
The First Nursing
Everything in the first hour after birth builds toward the first nursing session. Amazingly, your newborn will navigate their way to your breast and latch all on their own to begin nursing. The “milk” they receive during this first feeding is known as colostrum which is a protein-rich and full of immune molecules that will benefit your baby’s immune system. Your baby’s nursing also stimulates milk production and releases hormones to help mom’s uterus contract back to pre-pregnancy size. Once your child has finished nursing, they will likely fall asleep on mom’s chest.