60 Tips for Healthy Birth: Part 6 - Keep Mother and Baby Together - It's Best for Mother, Baby, and Breastfeeding

In this six-part series, we are sharing 10 tips for each of the Lamaze six Healthy Birth Practices that help guide women toward a safe and healthy birth. The Lamaze Healthy Birth Practices are supported by research studies that examine the benefits and risks of maternity care practices. Learn more about each practice, including short, informative videos at Lamaze.com. To read the rest of the 60 tips, check out the other posts in this series.

10 Ways to Keep Mother and Baby Together after Birth

1. Learn why keeping mother and baby together is healthy for you, your baby, and breastfeeding.

2. Ask your care provider about routine practices after birth. Does she encourage mom and baby to stay together?

3. During your hospital tour, ask the tour guide what nursing staff does to help mom and baby get off to the best start after birth. Do they promote skin-to-skin care? Do they delay routine newborn procedures until mom and baby have had a chance to feed?

4. Include on your birth plan that mom and baby should be kept together after birth. Share your birth plan with your care provider and the nursing staff at your place of birth.

5. Let your partner and birth support team know that you would like to keep your baby with you after birth. With the chaos that generally happens after birth, they can help facilitate your wishes.

6. Take a good childbirth class to learn how interventions can affect birth and your baby, and how they can be avoided. Many interventions can lead to separation of you and your baby.

7. When you are moved to a postpartum room after birth, keep your baby in the room with you instead of sending her to the nursery. Babies sleep best when mom is near, and you will get the best start with breastfeeding when you are close enough to see and hear their early hunger cues.

8. Take a good breastfeeding class, which will provide information on how to get breastfeeding off to a good start, including skin-to-skin care and tips for the first latch/feed with your baby.

9. If you must be separated from your baby after birth, spend time skin to skin with your baby once she is back in your arms.

10. If you have a cesarean, ask your care provider about bringing your baby skin to skin immediately after he is out. Some hospitals perform "family centered cesareans," where mom and baby are kept skin to skin and breastfeeding is initiated in the OR. If your hospital does not permit you to hold your baby skin to skin in the OR, ask that your partner or birth support person hold baby skin to skin while you finish out your surgery and get moved to the recovery room.

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