I had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Nils Bergman speak last summer. He is the director of NINO Birth, which stands for "Neuroscience for Improved Neonatal Outcomes."
He is doing research and connecting the dots between other researchers' work that confirms a mother's instinctual need to keep her baby with her. Based on his observations of birthing mammals, Dr. Bradley came to the same conclusion: the best things for baby is to be skin-to-skin on the mother's chest, and the best food for infants is breastmilk.
Since we are fascinated with science and some doctors can't be convinced without it, it is awesome to have Dr. Nils out there spreading his message. Thanks to his research, he can be even more specific about the benefits to both mother and baby. You can find his website with his research and advice to new parents HERE. There are also pages dedicated specifically to parents of preemies. (IMO the whole website should be required reading for parents and care-providers alike!!)
The foundation of his message is that after a birth (even of a premature baby), the mother and the infant should have 1000 minutes of uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact. YES - that's 16 hours and 40 minutes of a mother and her infant snuggled together, without interruption.
Now, practically speaking, the first hour should be skin-to-skin with the mother. After that, if mom has to use the restroom or wants a quick shower, then the other parent can do skin-to-skin with baby, reuniting the MotherBaby as soon as possible.
In a nutshell, the benefits of continuous skin-to-skin contact for the MotherBaby are that bonding and breastfeeding get off to a good start. For the infant, sleep cycling starts to get organized, temperature is regulated, and blood sugars are stabilized. All this just when the MotherBaby is supported in staying in continuous contact.
For me, the most startling thing that Dr. Nils stated when he shared his research is the profound effect continuous contact also has on the mother. He says that she becomes "brain-wired for ferocity", the natural instinct to protect and provide for her baby, when she and baby stay together. It is small wonder then that mothers who are separated from their infants for any period of time have a harder time making milk for those infants, and sometimes feel a huge disconnect between themselves and their children.
So, YES, this means that all a mother should do after the birth of her baby is stay in bed with the baby.
YES this means that it is okay to delay making an announcement on social media until the day after the baby is born to allow the MotherBaby to get organized.
YES, anyone who tells you otherwise can be ignored. As long as mother is okay and baby is okay, there is no reason for anyone else other than the mother and the other parent to be touching and holding the baby. Baths, newborn procedures, and any other pokes and prods can be delayed until the first 1000 minutes have passed.
As cute as your Sweet Pea is, and as much as some visitors may long to hold them when they have that precious, just-out-of-the-womb smell, just say no. There is plenty of time for friends and family to come hold the baby after you get home, when you will want help with meals and laundry. They can hold the baby then, while you grab a nice, hot shower.
Until then, claim your inner MamaBear and hold your baby.
The material included in this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The viewer should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained in this video and on our blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.