The baby is already in your arms. An exciting meeting! What a huge change – for the little creature having to adjust to the colder air and brighter light. Fortunately, the newborn is not so helpless – it has incredible abilities to connect emotionally with its family. What tricks has nature come up with, and why is the first hour so important?
- C-section Birth
50th second, first minute. The baby is already in the white world. Why isn’t she crying? First, about 15 mL of amniotic fluid must be removed from his lungs. As a result, babies born via c-section have suction of the fluid.If they are fine, in most clinics they are placed on the mother’s chest. The baby recovers slowly, coughing and moaning, then a soft rinse is heard.
3rd minute – a big warm hug. For the baby, birth is an explosion into boundless space. Therefore, to hug him tightly, to give him security, is the first reflex of a mother who takes him. Nature uses this behavior: close skin-to-skin contact causes the mother’s body to release oxytocin, the attachment hormone. Babies who spend the first hour naked on their mothers’ breasts have less difficulty nursing and cry less.
9th minute – what do you look like? Back to mom. She immediately begins the familiarization. When a mother takes a close look at her baby for the first time, she studies him almost always with the same sequence, whether in a European clinic or an African hut. At first, he touches the fingers of the hands, after a few seconds, he strokes the whole arms up to the shoulders, then the feet. Falling in love begins! It is important not to interfere with this first contact. It is the basis of a good relationship between mother and child. Amazingly, when lying down, the mother instinctively places her baby on the left breast, close to the heart.
10th minute – Apgar test. Each baby’s condition is assessed one minute, five minutes, and ten minutes after birth. Is the color of the face good? Are muscle tone, reflexes, and breathing OK? His condition is very good when he is rated at nine to ten points, at seven to eight points, the child is also good but needs to be monitored. With six points or less, there is a risk, and strict control is required. The criteria for this test were established by Dr. Virginia Apgar in 1953. Its application significantly contributed to the reduction of infant mortality.
20th minute – smile at me! The baby can now move onto dad’s chest. Mom’s belly needs to be stitched up. Father makes every effort for rapprochement, in which communication between mother and child is interrupted. Studies have shown that this is the reason why only 26% of mothers who gave birth by cesarean section fully cope with breastfeeding, and postpartum depression is more severe in them. That is why, in some clinics, the baby is not separated from the mother after the operation.
37th minute – review. A midwife or a neonatologist performs the compulsory examination for all babies – look for signs of disease and the maturity of the baby, whether the testicles have descended if it is a boy, whether the skin is pink, whether there are nails… After that, the newborn is measured. Then he hands himself to mom, who is eagerly waiting for him. The cuddling is immediately caught up.
- Vaginal Birth
20th second, first minute. The baby immediately cries – loud and loud. In the birth canal, his chest was so compressed that there was very little secretion in his airways. Thus, the baby can immediately start breathing with his lungs and make his first breathing movements. Loud crying is healthy. Yelling prevents the vocal folds from closing and allows oxygen to enter.
First minute – tightly packed. In order not to lose heat, the baby is wrapped in warm towels and gently rubbed. Thus, his blood circulation is stimulated, which lasts about five minutes. Some babies shiver, sneeze, or hiccup. Touched skin to skin next to mom, the baby maintains the necessary temperature and its adaptation proceeds more easily.
2nd minute – cutting the umbilical cord. If the father is present at this time, he can cut the umbilical cord. In a full-term newborn, this happens about a minute and a half after it stops pulsating. By then, enough blood had been transferred from the mother to the newborn.
8th minute – eye contact. The baby has had enough rest and is staring intently at mom. In this phase, babies almost never cry, they are in a state of calmness and extreme attention. Their innate ability to make contact sets the stage for a strong future relationship. Only four hours after birth, newborns can distinguish their mother’s face from others. After this time, the baby begins to clap, and mom imitates it – they communicate with each other. By the way, the newborn also practices for the next movement that awaits him – breastfeeding.
25th minute – breastfeeding. The baby begins to make squirming movements and suck the nipple on mom’s breast. At the same time, receptors are activated in her organism, on which the outflow of breast milk depends. Endorphins, the hormones of happiness, are released. The newborn only moves to the mother’s chest. It is no coincidence that infants show a marked interest in round shapes – they exert a magical attraction on them and guarantee that they will find the nipple. First it licks its mother, then opens its mouth and begins to suckle, as if that had always been the rule. The level of oxytocin in the mother greatly increases, which, among other things, leads to the pushing out of the placenta and the closing of many blood vessels in the uterus. If you observe the newborn in these moments, you may be struck by the strength, energy, and determination with which this little creature fights for its survival.