60 Tips for Healthy Birth: Part 6 – Keep Mother and Baby Together – It’s Best for Mother, Baby, and Breastfeeding

In this six-part series, we are sharing 10 tips for each of the Lamaze six Healthy Birth Practices that help guide women toward a safe and healthy birth. The Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices are supported by research studies that examine the benefits and risks of maternity care practices. Learn more about each practice, including short, informative videos at Lamaze.com. To read the rest of the 60 tips, check out the other posts in this series.

10 Ways to Keep Mother and Baby Together after Birth

1. Learn why keeping mother and baby together is healthy for you, your baby, and breastfeeding.

2. Ask your care provider about routine practices after birth. Does she encourage mom and baby to stay together?

3. During your hospital tour, ask the tour guide what nursing staff does to help mom and baby get off to the best start after birth. Do they promote skin-to-skin care? Do they delay routine newborn procedures until mom and baby have had a chance to feed?

4. Include on your birth plan that mom and baby should be kept together after birth. Share your birth plan with your care provider and the nursing staff at your place of birth.

5. Let your partner and birth support team know that you would like to keep your baby with you after birth. With the chaos that generally happens after birth, they can help facilitate your wishes.

6. Take a good childbirth class to learn how interventions can affect birth and your baby, and how they can be avoided. Many interventions can lead to separation of you and your baby.

7. When you are moved to a postpartum room after birth, keep your baby in the room with you instead of sending her to the nursery. Babies sleep best when mom is near, and you will get the best start with breastfeeding when you are close enough to see and hear their early hunger cues.

8. Take a good breastfeeding class, which will provide information on how to get breastfeeding off to a good start, including skin-to-skin care and tips for the first latch/feed with your baby.

9. If you must be separated from your baby after birth, spend time skin to skin with your baby once she is back in your arms.

10. If you have a cesarean, ask your care provider about bringing your baby skin to skin immediately after he is out. Some hospitals perform “family centered cesareans,” where mom and baby are kept skin to skin and breastfeeding is initiated in the OR. If your hospital does not permit you to hold your baby skin to skin in the OR, ask that your partner or birth support person hold baby skin to skin while you finish out your surgery and get moved to the recovery room.

Lamaze Care Practices: What They Are & How They Can Help

Common sense tells us and research confirms that the Six Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices featured in these video clips and print materials are tried-and-true ways to make birth as safe and healthy as possible. But don’t take our word for it — click through to watch each of the short clips to learn more about safe & healthy birth and how best to achieve it, no matter where you give birth.

Introduction: Safe and Healthy Birth Practice - Download PDF

#1: Let Labor Begin on Its Own - Download PDF

#2: Walk, Move & Change Positions - Download PDF

#3: Have Continuous Support - Download PDF

#4: Avoid Unnecessary Interventions - Download PDF

#5: Get Upright & Follow Urges to Push - Download PDF

#6: Keep Your Baby With You - Download PDF

Download the complete booklet here.

Lamaze International partnered with InJoy Productions and their new Mother’s Advocate program to provide you with this free, evidence-based educational material.

The Wonder of Mothers: Skin-to-Skin Care

May 13 is Mother’s Day and to celebrate, Giving Birth with Confidence will post throughout the month of May on “The Wonder of Mothers,” a series dedicated to sharing some of the many ways mothers’ bodies are beautifully designed to grow, birth, and nourish her baby. We’ll also be giving away a Lamaze stroller and infant car seat, so be sure to check back regularly!


The Wonder of Mothers: Skin-to-Skin Care

You may have heard of the phrase “skin-to-skin” or ”kangaroo” care, but if you’re new to the idea, here’s a simple definition:

Skin-to-skin or “kangaroo” care is when a newborn baby is placed unclothed on mother’s chest directly after birth and as often as possible during the newborn stage. This kind of care has been proven to have many health benefits for healthy full-term babies, as well as quicker recovery from illness and difficulties for premature and sick babies.

So what is it about a mother’s body that makes skin-to-skin care so important? Because of the unique symbiosis between a mother and her baby, a mother’s body is designed to provide the perfect environment for her newborn baby. When a baby is placed on her mother’s chest, the temperature of mom’s body not only keeps baby warm, but helps regulate a baby’s temperature to what he/she needs at that very moment. Some babies are born with the inability to regulate their own temperature. Studies have shown that skin-to-skin care is best for keeping a baby’s ideal temperature. It is often reported that artificial heat from an incubator cannot replicate the effects of mom’s touch. It also has been shown that the temperature for twins who are each placed on one of mom’s breasts are regulated independently, adjusting according to their individual needs!

Beyond temperature, skin-to-skin care has been shown to also provide newborn benefits in the way of regulating blood sugar levels, stabilizing heart rate, reducing crying, increasing mother-baby bonding, and establishing and maintaining breastfeeding. Mothers’ bodies are amazing!

Requesting Skin-to-Skin Care at a Hospital

If you are planning a hospital birth, know that many hospitals routinely perform infant procedures shortly after birth. If your baby is healthy, it is safe and encouraged to delay newborn procedures like weight and measurements, bathing, and any routine shots or ointments. Instead, use the first couple of hours after birth to spend skin-to-skin time with your baby. Talk to your care provider, your birth partner, and your doula about your preferences to hold your baby skin-to-skin after birth. And, ask your partner or doula to remind the nurses on staff during your labor of your birth preferences. You may need to speak up to get what you want, but remember, it’s your baby and your right!

Did you practice skin-to-skin care with your newborn? How do you think it helped you or your baby?