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The womb is the ideal environment from every perspective for your developing baby. It is warm and tight, with lulling movement and meets your little one’s every need. It is from this ideal environment that your baby emerges into our busy and much less baby-friendly world.
Without question the very best you can do for your baby in terms of touch in the first few days is to hold your baby skin-to-skin. The familiar feeling of your skin against hers will calm your baby. To hold your baby skin-to-skin, remove your shirt and place your baby naked onto your bare chest, with only a nappy or diaper on and a cap to reduce loss of heat through the head. Then place a covering, such as a loose shirt or blanket, over the both of you.
When she is not skin-to-skin with you, you should swaddle your baby. In the coming weeks, this is probably the single most important thing you can do to keep your baby calm and help her to sleep well in the weeks after birth. The snug sensation of being wrapped mimics the tight world of the womb. Use a 100% cotton wrap that has some stretch, such as a cotton interlock blanket and wrap your baby up tightly. We recommend the award winning Baby Sense Cuddlewrap
Wear soft shirts and dress your baby in very soft outfits at these are the first textures your baby must get used to after being naked in the womb.
Encourage your baby to suck on your breast or on her hands, a dummy or pacifier to sooth her in the early days. The mouth is full of calming touch sensors and your baby is used to sucking in utero to self-calm too.
Hold your baby from the moment she is born, whenever she needs to be calmed. You cannot spoil your little one and she craves your calming touch. However, limit handling by all-and-sundry as this can overwhelm your young baby.
Sounds of the delivery room
Ask everyone to hush their voices as you connect with your little one. As soon as possible, ask to be left alone. Your baby will be soothed by your familiar voices. Use your voice to calm your baby – it’s a familiar sound, which is comforting for her.
Sights of the delivery room
Dim the lights right down as soon as your baby is born. Coming from the dark space of the womb, your baby will be understandably blinded by the bright lights around her. The best thing you can do is to make the space as dim as possible so she can focus without crumpling up her eyes. Do not let the nurses put any drops in your baby’s eyes, as this will also blur her vision. The first day is the perfect opportunity for you and your baby to connect visually as she can see in perfect clarity 22cm from her face.
Smells of the delivery room
The smell of the delivery room, with its sterile solutions and air-conditioning, can be very pungent. The most soothing and familiar smell is you so try to get your baby skin-to-skin, where she can enjoy the soothing smell of mum.
Don’t use perfume in the delivery room and for six months after your baby is born as her sense of smell is very acute and even the most subtle smells can overwhelm her.
Tastes of the delivery room
Don’t wash your baby immediately. At birth, your baby is covered in a white, waxy substance we call vernix. This coating is easily absorbed into your baby’s skin and is beneficial for her skin. Research has shown that babies suck their hands to self-calm earlier if they have not been washed as they are used to the taste of vernix from in-utero.
Breastfeed your baby as soon as possible after birth. Colostrum – your fist early milk is sweet and a flavor your little one loves.
Cherish the first hours and moments in the delivery room. These are precious moments.
By Meg Faure