You’ve finally got your baby in your arms – time to rest and enjoy bonding with your newborn right? Yes, absolutely. But there is also quite a lot that happens in the first hour, and indeed the first day after the baby is born. That is what session four of Muddies To Be – our unique outdoor antenatal classes – will be about. It will be a golden hour (and a half) in the woods, discussing the golden hour after birth.
We’ll start by talking about skin-to-skin contact with your new baby, and the host of benefits it has for your little one and you. In terms of acclimatising the baby to life outside the womb, there is no better place for a newborn than snuggled up on the chest of his or her parent. You can enjoy the rush of oxytocin skin-to-skin brings as the last stage of labour occurs.
The placenta is no longer needed to protect and nourish the baby, and your body will want it out. We’ll discuss the options you have for delivering this amazing organ, and what happens with it afterwards. (I will almost certainly tell a mildly amusing anecdote about a friend’s placenta).
Following on from that, we’ll cover what happens when the midwife checks the perineum for tears and what to expect if you have stitches. How to look after those stitches and the pelvic floor in general will most definitely be discussed. I am a big an of pelvic floor exercises for helping tears to heal, and muscles regain their strength after nine months of supporting the weight of a baby. So that section may well be given lots of time!
There is a whole host of brand new baby stuff to talk about. We’ll start with cutting the cord (and probably an anecdote from my student days). There are the initial baby checks, including measuring his head and weighing him. There is the top-to-toe check, the question of vitamin K and the first feed. We will cover what the purpose of these things are, when they might happen and what your options are.
What about going home after a hospital birth? To make sure you and the baby are fit and well, there will be check for you both. For mothers, making sure your bladder is working well is important. (If you thought the days of giving a midwife a wee sample were now over, think again!) You’ll have a general check to make sure your body is recovering normally from childbirth. Midwives at a home birth will make similar checks.
We’ll talk about the role of the birth partner in all this. From baby bonding, to hospital visiting, Muddies To Be wants to make sure you have all the information you need.
There will also be more checks for the baby in the first day or so. The newborn hearing screening can be carried out anytime in the first four weeks, but can be done from when the baby is a few hours old. There is also the Newborn and Infant Physical Examination and this happens in the first 72 hours of life. We’ll talk about what this looks at and the options for having it done at home or in hospital.
As you can see, this is a jam-packed session, but it won’t just be us talking at you for a golden hour (or golden 90 minutes). There is always time for tea and a chat at Muddies to Be (and the all-important toasted marshmallow), a woodland craft or two, and a stroll about the woods to stretch the legs and pick up some interesting facts along the way.