The 'golden hour' that makes breastfeeding easier from the start
Newborn babies who are able to enjoy one 'golden' hour of skin-to-skin contact with their mum immediately after birth are less stressed and more likely to breastfeed for longer.
There are many reasons why skin-to-skin contact is not always immediately possible, but if there are no complications stopping baby or mum, the latest research shows that those precious 60 minutes could have a host of health benefits.
A review of 46 trials including 3,850 mums and babies from 21 countries found that women who were able to have skin-to-skin contact with their baby immediately after birth were more likely to breastfeed until their baby was one month old and 50 per cent more likely to breastfeed until six months.
Lead author Elizabeth Moore, from Vanderbilt University in the US, told DM:
"After the first hour or two, stress hormones in the baby from being born recede and the baby gets really, really sleepy.
"You want to catch them in the first hour when they are wide awake, moving around and interested in latching on and sucking, because after that they crash. So that hour is what they call the golden hour."
The review also showed that babies who were able to lie naked against their mother's skin had higher blood sugar and more stable heart rates as they recovered from the trauma of birth.
The report states: ‘The evidence from this updated review supports using immediate or early skin-to-skin contact to promote breastfeeding. This is important because we know breastfeeding helps babies avoid illness and stay healthy.
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