I think we sometimes forget that human babies take the longest of all mammals to transition and grow to maturity. Many common newborn behaviors may be considered signs that your baby is spoiled, colicky or gassy, or that mom doesn’t have enough milk, because surely baby can’t still be hungry!
Well, the truth is, your baby just doesn’t want to be put down and that’s normal. Your baby knows you, loves you, and wants to be with you. He or she knows your sounds: coughing, sneezing, or digestion. He or she knows your movement: walking, laying down, sitting down, or dancing. Your baby knows you from the inside out. Your body is like a second womb.
Just as in their first womb, the temperature is always just right.
Did you know that after birth a baby’s temperature is better regulated skin-to-skin with mom than in a warmer or swaddled in blankets with a hat on? It's not too hot, and not too cold. If baby’s temperature decreases, mom’s temperature increases. If baby’s temperature increases, mom’s temperature decreases.
The first time your baby uses his or her lungs is with that first breath after birth. Isn’t that amazing?
Being skin-to-skin with you assists your baby with the regulation of breathing. Your baby knows your breathing pattern, because he or she has been listening to it for months. It is calming. As your baby gets a little older, your respirations may even sync.
Your baby knows you by your heartbeat!
Heartbeats are like fingerprints! No two are alike. So, your baby will know if it is you or your partner who is holding him or her. Babies are so smart! That rhythm is soothing and familiar to them.
You have a unique scent that your baby actually begins to learn prenatally!
When your baby is placed skin-to-skin immediately after birth, the scent of the amniotic fluid is transferred to your skin. Your baby is also drawn to the natural scent of the area near your underarms. The unique smell of your nipple and areola guides baby to his or her food source. Babies imprint at first smell!
You and your baby were not meant to be separated.
Did you know you and your baby were made to remain one unit even after the umbilical cord is cut? When you and your baby are kept close and the two of you are breastfeeding, you share an immune system! Stress levels are also higher in moms and babies when separated. Babies who stay with their moms cry less.
Increased contact with your baby can get breastfeeding off to a good start as well as keep it on track.
Breastfeeding hormones can increase with contact which can lead to increased milk supply. They can also increase relaxation for mom. Keeping baby very close and using skin-to-skin as much as possible also helps you learn your baby's hunger cues (which can be one of the most confusing things about your newborn!) and keeps your baby well-fed. It may seem that your newborn is nursing constantly; but remember, babies have constant nourishment in their “first” womb. Babies need and want to be close to their food. The transition to different feeding patterns will be gradual and is different for every baby. Comparing the two of you to other moms and babies on social media will drive you crazy.
We understand that there may be circumstances where separation is unavoidable. If that is the case, just get to your baby as soon you are able. It won’t be too late!
As always, if you have concerns, questions, or would like in-person help, please contact us regardless of feeding methods! (If you are feeding your baby using alternative methods or have been unable to breastfeed, the above are still important for you!)