My first son was taken away immediately after his birth for routine examinations. When they gave him back to me, he was so tightly wrapped in a blanket that I could see only his face. I knew that I want this moment to be different for my next baby and so I searched for other options. My doula, whom I chose for my next childbirth, mentioned bonding and explained all the benefits for me and my baby. It all made sense to me – that was exactly what I wanted! We really enjoyed our bonding – it was the best reward after labour. What am I talking about?
The term bonding is used for an uninterrupted contact skin to skin between a newborn baby and the mother immediately after delivery. It creates the first and most precious bond between the baby and the mother. Bonding is supported in most Czech maternity hospitals, even after C-sections. And in case the baby can´t be close to their mother, their father can fill in! Almost all routine check-ups of the baby can be done on a parent´s body, it is not necessary to take the baby away.
Right after birth, your baby is most perceptive. He or she smells their mother very intensely, their eyes are wide open and they watch closely their mum or dad. They are getting to know each other, falling in love with each other. Then the baby starts nursing; its body is colonized with mother´s bacteria that help to develop the immune system. Parents are stroking the baby and by doing so, they help him to breathe regularly.
Benefits for the baby are better adaptation after birth, babies who could bond are usually calmer, happier and they cry less.
Benefits for the mother are faster uterus shrinking and therefore faster after-birth recovery, better start of lactation and smoother breast-feeding. Contact with the baby also decreases the risk of postpartum depression.
Shortly after delivery the baby needs to be kept warm. Mother´s skin has the ideal temperature, but a cover-up is still important. Often used cotton sheets are not that warm, on the contrary, they can feel cold when wet. A blanket is a better option, ideally with two layers of different materials - soft and comforting for the baby and warm and cosy for the necessary warmth. The recommended colour for a bonding blanket is red, because this colour reminds the babies of their mummy´s belly, where they spent last nine months (to this point, their whole life) and felt so safe.