• Shanna Hinrichs

Golden Hour Isn’t Just For Sunrise And Sunset

We typically think of golden hour as that perfect golden glow in photography that only happens at sunrise or sunset. However, if you have ever attended the birth and stuck around for the first hour after a healthy baby is delivered, you know that “golden hour” is the perfect way to describe this phenomenon of bonding hour.

The golden hour after birth is the first hour of getting to meet, be skin-to-skin, look at the eyes of your newborn, and marvel at the journey of transitioning to a family that you just fought through. Here are just a few of our favorite reasons to fall in love with the golden hour of birth.

The Hard Work Of Labor Is Done

One of the hardest things about being a midwife is knowing the weary work of labor that each new momma must walkthrough. Yet, as midwives, we support, monitor, and encourage the family as they journey through the hills and valleys of birth.

But for the midwives and other birth support people, labor is a lot of waiting and patience that culminates in jumping into action at the moments before the birth. Then more comforting, monitoring, and safety work from the midwives while you soak in every bit of your new baby.

The golden hour is a relief for all supporting a birthing woman because they know that she can finally rest and enjoy the fruit of her laboring, cuddling the one person she has waited 9+ months to meet.

Golden Hour Is Crucial For Early Bonding

After birth, the bonding experience with a baby can sometimes sound like a mystical experience that happens by magic. But it is the act of feeling, seeing, smelling, and providing for each other’s needs that build joy and cause our brains to grow.

One of the simplest and profound ways this happens after birth is for the new baby to be comforted by skin-to-skin time with both parents. This time offers the baby’s body the ability to regulate temperature and heart rate and sense the need for the first feeding.

In healthy, stable clients, most of the initial exams for baby and mom can be done with mom holding the baby. While weighing and measurements can be postponed in favor of soaking up as much of the golden hour “birth high” as possible.

Golden Hour Is Much Needed Recovery Time

After hours of hard work, the golden hour is the much-needed recovery time for mom, baby, and those in supporting roles. Everyone takes an active sigh of relief when the strain and struggle of the marathon of birth have come to an end.

Midwives can help ensure your baby is safe and healthy, all the while listening to lungs, taking the pulse, watching for bleeding, and all-around the mother and baby during this skin-to-skin time.

This after birth recovery time finalizes the brain chemistry that has been changing in mom for 9 months. It concludes the chemistry changes that help nurture and care for the new infant.

How does Natural Born Midwifery Handle The Golden Hour?

After your sweet baby has come earthside, we patiently wait for the placenta to birth. After the birth of the placenta and we know that you and baby are both stable, we step out of the room. We are always within earshot to ensure that everyone is doing well, but we know how vital those first moments after birth are to our families. The birth team takes a moment to breathe and decompress if needed and make sure that the chart is complete and accurate.

After a bit of time, we will check in on you to make sure you are drinking your water and even ask about someone getting you some food. We will then help you and your baby get that first latch if it hasn't happened yet. We then will step back out and start cleaning up all of our stuff and get ready to walk your new family through the newborn exam right on your bed.

Verbalize Your Desires For Your Golden Hour

Explaining your hopes for the golden hour in your birth plan will help your care providers be prepared and know how to serve your family best. In addition, having this discussion about the golden hour helps to make it possible at delivery. Would you like more information about the golden hour at birth? Contact us here with your questions.

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