​How You Hold Your Baby After Birth Can Make Them Healthier ​

mom holding newborn in hospitalMoms may be rethinking their birth plans after hearing about a new study out of Argentina, published in The Lancet. It found newborns held immediately after birth have benefits we haven't even been considering. While expectant moms have most likely heard how skin-to-skin contact with their infant immediately following the birth bolsters bonding and a plethora of physical boons for baby, the latest research shows it could also boost the use of delayed cord clamping and potentially reduce the number of infants with iron deficiency.

Current guidelines suggest that the baby be held at the level of the mother's placenta (which can be awkward and uncomfortable for the person holding the newborn) before the umbilical cord is clamped. But the new study found that the baby can be held at the mother's stomach or chest and still get similar amounts of blood transferred from the placenta.

In other words, a position that encourages immediate bonding between mother and child is just as effective as the more awkward, guideline-friendly positioning. And as a result, moms should feel free to ask questions of their providers to accommodate their wishes related to uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact. And maybe even adding it to their birth plan.

After all, as the lead author of the study, Nestor Vain, of the Foundation for Maternal and Child Health in Buenos Aires, stated in a press release:

Because of the potential of enhanced bonding between mother and baby, increased success of breastfeeding, and the compliance with the procedure, holding the infant by the mother immediately after birth should be strongly recommended.

Thus, moms shouldn't be afraid to challenge current guidelines surrounding delayed umbilical cord clamping. There's clearly a case for going a new, more beneficial route.

How did you hold your baby after delivery? Would you want to do it differently in the future?


Image via Raphael Goetter/Flickr

baby health


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Lynette Lynette

On my chest with delayed clapping.

Em Chappell-Root

Oldest has the cord around his neck and had inhaled meconium,  so no delayed clamping and he wasn't held for several minutes until his APGARS were up. We were in the hospital for extra time, he was actually induced. The second, went into labor on my own,  they cut his cord, then immediate cuddling skin to skin. Both boys had to be on photo-therapy and had iron deficiency. My daughter was a birth center water birth, delayed clamping, cuddled. No jaundice that I recall and good iron levels. Last was a home water birth, mild jaundice resolved in one weekend with feedings, good iron levels, and was delayed clamping and immediately cuddled. 

Sarah... SarahHall58

My baby was born just fine with regular cord clamping and cuddling. It really depends on the health of the child. People stress themselves out with this birth plan nonsense. Most likely it's gonna go out the window and then they get even more stressed out. If you want a birth plan fine but work in there that things will most likely change

Lane-... Lane-Moja

Oh in the land of America where doctors explain things and ask for approval, where medical professionals abide by your birth plan, and care about your preferences.

Here, in Eastern Europe...things are done to you, no questions asked, no explination if even notice is given. They are medical professionals, you are a patient. Why would YOU need to be informed? And why on earth would a mother be in charge of her birth plan?! Ha.

You can imagine how terrifying an American giving birth somewhere else can be. Not to mention the language barrier, oh and no husbands allowed. You're on your own!

Shark... Sharkgirl7

What's that suppose to mean? If you think its easy here, you're grossly misinformed. Many places don't ask for approval or follow birth plans. And YES YOU NEED TO BE INFORMED!!!!!!!!! Good grief! Its YOUR body! Doesn't MATTER if you didn't go to medical school, unless its an insane life or death emergency, you have every right to an opinion!!

Lilylady Lilylady

A mother having a baby is NOT a patient, and birth is a very natural life event that really doesn't even belong in a hospital except in extreme cases. Most low-risk pregnant women (which is the vast majority) could labor and give birth safely at home or at least in a free-standing birthing center attended by midwives, and there are a host of good reasons for doing so.  I applaud all women who educate themselves and make birth plans as informed consumers who want the healthiest and safest birth experience for themselves and their child. Childbirth is big business in this country -- know your rights and use them!

nonmember avatar Sabra

Ladies all I think lane-moja was saying that's how it is in Europe. She wasn't saying it right. You all read entirely to quickly & judge at the same pace. I need to quit reading the comments section...

nonmember avatar Amber

I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy 4 weeks ago and they asked me if I wanted to hold him immediately for skin to skin contact. Ummm...of course I did. I laughed and the nurse actually told me that some women say no because "it's gross". With is wrong with a woman who things her 2 second old child is gross and wants them clean before she touches him/her???

Ariel Lynn Roach

There is nothing "wrong" with a woman thinking it's gross. I wanted my son cleaned before I held him. With my OCD, the thought of holding him immediately after made me cringe. It turned out I wasn't able to hold him immediately after anyway because I blacked out several times during labour and was barely conscious when he was born. Not every woman can handle it. I can't. For those that can, awesome! More power to you. But don't talk down on women that can't. That's just rude.

grnsm... grnsmomma

Thank you, Ariel. Just because it works for some doesn't mean it works for all, some people are so judgmental! With my oldest his cord was wrapped around and the doctor was a total jackass so I didn't get a chance or opinion for anything. My second was a bed rest baby and an emergency c section. They didn't even hold him up for me to see once he was out. I didn't see him until I was out of recovery..2 1/2 hours later.

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