Research has established ‘golden hour’ of breastfeeding a child which is within an hour after birth. Skin-to-skin contact between the mother and child within the first hour of birth enables them bond and promotes greater percentage of breastfeeding. This helps the child to quickly learn how to latch on to feed by perceiving odour signal from their mother’s body. Such babies are less stressed by having stable heart and good breathing rates.
Elizabeth Moore, a lead author from Vanderbilt University in the US said: “Newborn baby uses their sense of smell to latch on to breastfeed after being born. After the first hour or two, stress hormones in the baby from being born recede and the baby gets really, really sleepy.”
She further said, “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.”
A review by Cochrane reads: “46 trials including 3,850 women and their babies, across 21 countries, found women with skin-to-skin contact were more likely to exclusively breastfeed from hospital discharge to one month post-birth. They were 50 per cent more likely to stick with it until their child was six months old.
“Their heart rate and breathing rate were more stable, showing babies lying on their mothers were less stressed following the traumatic experience of moving from the womb into the outside world.”
The study concludes by advising women to be holding their babies skin-to-skin as a normal practice.