5 Things You Should Do Right After Birth that are Often Overlooked
Your Baby is Born, Now What?
Congratulations, you did it! What a feeling, huh? The exciting times as a Mommy are ahead!
Actually, I hope you’re reading this article while you’re still pregnant because you need to know these facts BEFORE you give birth to your baby.
There are a few things you could do right after birth that will help strengthen your baby’s immune system as well as improve your overall physical and mental health.
Your body, even after birth, is still amazing, so use it to its full potential!
As soon as your baby is born, lay her on your naked chest, so she feels safe and loved. Your baby needs to hear your calm voice, feel your warmth, hear your heartbeat. And you, you’ve been waiting for this most precious moment for so long, enjoy it!
Also, let Daddy in on the action. Skin-to-skin is a perfect way for him to bond with your baby. He may also be the preferred cuddling buddy while you’re taking a shower.
“A new baby is like the beginning of all things – wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.”
#2: Delayed Cord Clamping
In a ‘normal’ situation, your umbilical cord will immediately be clamped and soon cut. Unfortunately, this is not a good thing. Please do not allow anyone to clamp or cut that cord right away. Unless it’s an emergency and your baby’s life depends on it, of course.
Immediately cutting your umbilical cord relinquishes important nutrients still left that is meant to be passed on to your baby. Only after the pulsations have ceased, should you clamp the cord, not a second sooner.
Your baby will have up to 30% more of the fetal-placental blood volume if you delay it. That means a full count of red blood cells, stem cells and immune cells! Delayed clamping also keeps your mother-baby unit intact and can prevent complications with delivering the placenta. Win-Win!
Your umbilical cord naturally makes sure your baby stays nourished, so make sure you write ‘Delay Cord Clamping – Clamp After Pulsations Cease’ in your birth plan.
#3: Delayed Washing
Another thing that’s a ‘quick to check off the list’ process from the hospital staff’s point of view is to wash the baby to make it clean and shiny for Mommy. That’s REALLY NOT NECESSARY! Instead, what the caretakers are doing is washing off your baby’s natural moisturizer, cleanser and protectant!
Since your baby is unable to regulate its body temperature right away, this film also acts as a protectant.
Your caretaker will probably want to wash your baby before you leave the hospital. Whatever you decide (a few days, 1 week or 2 weeks) is OK, just as long as it’s not right after birth. Just remember, your baby isn’t dirty!
So write ‘Don’t Wash Baby’ in your birth plan too.
This cheesy film is called vernix by the way, keep it on for awhile to let it absorb into the skin and let your baby wear it proud!
#4: Breastfeed as Soon as your Baby Wants to
You may have heard, when it comes to breastfeeding, ‘the sooner, the better’. It’s a perfect time to start, that is, IF your baby wants to drink. If your baby latches on right away, great. If not, no worries, it will happen soon enough.
In the beginning, you’ll produce colostrum to help protect your baby from infection. Since she’s so tiny, she doesn’t need much. Within time, she’ll drink more and to keep up with her demand, you will produce more. In an ideal situation anyway. If you need help with the act of breastfeeding, please contact a breastfeeding consultant. The most highly certified is an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant).
And if you choose to not breastfeed or you are not happy with the results OR it causes too much pain and you want to stop, honestly, just do what makes you happy! If you give your baby a bottle, you’re not going to ruin your baby’s health.
Today, there’s way too much pressure to breastfeed no matter what, but that won’t keep you mentally healthy and if you’re not mentally healthy, your baby won’t be either. So, you now have permission to take the pressure off and do what feels natural and good for you!
After breastfeeding skin-to-skin, delayed cord clamping and washing, just relax and enjoy falling in love all over again.
#5: Take your Time, Relax, Breathe
After you’ve invested time into planning the best birth possible, it’s now time to take it easy. You have this little bundle of joy in your hands and time flies by so fast, so the last piece of advice I want to give you is to enjoy falling in love all over again.
If you feel you’re having difficulties with the messy postpartum period, please find a postpartum doula, who can help you enjoy your time with your newborn.