What happens when there is uninterrupted time right after birth for a baby to get to know his or her parents? And for the parents to get to know their baby? What happens if there is no pressure for baby’s first latch and nursing experience? What happens when the first few hours after birth become suspended in time, with no need to do anything but be together and explore this new reality? What happens is truly magical, and can impact the relationships well into the future.
Right after birth, when given the chance, every baby goes through 9 distinct phases. These start with the well known first cry as the lungs fill with air, have lots of resting time, lots of curiosity, include baby’s first latch and meal, and culminate in a nice long deep sleep for mom and baby.
Within a few minutes of being placed skin to skin on mom’s belly a baby will begin the process of exploring and seeking out her breast for the first latch. This is known as the breast crawl. Ideally the baby should have little to no assistance throughout this process. While it may take upwards of 45 minutes or more for success, the time given is well worth it. This time allows parents to be amazed at what their baby can already do, and allows the baby to feel secure in the knowledge that his or her parents trust them to succeed in a task. This is parenting at its best – giving the space and encouragement for a child to figure out how to do something on his or her own while being fully present to the process.
The level of bonding and mutual awe that occur in the first hours after birth makes these truly Magical Hours.
Erin Balkind teaches “Magical Hours” quarterly for expectant families. Her next class is April 13, 1-2:30pm. To register contact Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (336) 209-4929. Cost is $15 per couple.