​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

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