Sandra van der Hooft

Sandra van der Hooft

Founder of The Natural Birth Experience, The Dutch Birth Nurse, Mother of 4 childeren

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From Womb to World

5 tips to introducing your baby into the world

I have some tips for you to make the transition from womb to the world so comfortable and loving as possible.

  1. Skin to Skin contact after Birth (Golden Hour)

Your baby is awake in the first hour after birth. They also call this the golden hour. They are particularly awake because of the adrenaline of birth. All their natural reflexes are optimally present. This is a wonderful moment. They have their eyes wide open and are very alert.

It is proven that  skin-to-skin contact after birth helps babies and their mothers in many ways;

  • It calms you and the baby
  • Regulates the baby’s heart rate and breathing, helping them to better adapt to life outside the womb
  • Stimulates digestion and interest in feeding
  • Regulates temperature
  • Enables colonisation of the baby’s skin with the mother’s friendly bacteria, thus providing protection against infection
  • Stimulates the release of hormones to support breastfeeding and mothering.

It is also good for fathers to have skin-to-skin contact with the baby. Firstly it is so good to get a bond with your baby and secondly, it feels so good.

In the case of a caesarean section because mom is probably still on the operating table when the baby is taken to the ward. This is the time to go with your baby as a father and when they are done examining, take the baby skin to skin with you.

2. Soft Sounds

The baby is protected against loud noises in the belly. The sounds are muffled by the amniotic fluid. If the baby is born, he has to get used to sounds. To make the transition smoothly, do not to talk too loudly and don’t make hard noises.

3. Speak to your baby

Talk to your baby from the start. Your voice is familiar. The baby heard it in the belly for months. If you talk, it gives him a safe feeling. For example, if the baby has to be checked, Daddy stays with the baby and talks to him.

4. First Mom and Dad

When the baby is born, everything is new to him. To ensure that the baby first connects with you, it is wise first to introduce mum and dad to the baby, a moment with the three of you. Then any other children or family members. It can be quite overwhelming for a baby. 

5. Wait with bathing

Your baby is born with a layer of vernix caseosa or skin smear.

This layer is created in the womb from the 20th week. The later your baby is born, the less skin smear you will see. Skin smear is very useful because it protects your newborn baby against infections, ensures that he does not cool down too much when he is born and moreover, the smooth layer must ensure that he “slides out” more smoothly.

When do you bathe your baby after birth?

Once born, your baby is often lightly rubbed with a cloth and then – if possible of course – placed on your warm chest. Skin lubricant is definitely not dirty and it is better to leave it on as much as possible. It naturally penetrates the skin. Bathing your baby right after birth is not necessary.

When? The best time is on day three of the maternity week. Bathing your baby for the first time is so much fun!

Use as little soap as possible during washing/bathing! Soap affects the normal fat layer of the skin, making the skin dry and causing irritation. If you want to use soap, take a naturally possible product.

In addition to the tips, there are also several situations that you need to consider:

  • If the feeding takes a lot of time (ex. when pumping or feeding using a breastfeeding set), do not bathe the baby within half an hour after feeding.
  • With strong yellowness and drowsiness, bathing can better be postponed.
  • You can also postpone bathing when your baby moans.
  • Your better not bathed when the baby has a body temperature below 36.5˚C (hypothermia) and above 37.5˚C (hyperthermia).
  • If the baby has a skin defect, do not bathe the baby without consulting your midwife.

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