Updated: Nov 4, 2022
If you only remember three things for the immediate postpartum period, remember these:
1) No Chatting: keep conversations quiet and to a minimum. Consider stepping outside if you have to talk. Keep the environment calm, quiet, warm, and conducive to perpetuating the flow of natural oxytocin. Extraneous conversations can pull Mom and baby out of their post birth bubble and may negatively affect bonding. This is one time that it’s better to be neither seen nor heard if everything is going smoothly.
2) No Patting: fundal massage has been shown in research studies to be ineffective with regards to preventing postpartum hemorrhage when compared with instances when it was not done. It’s intrusive, often extremely painful, and quite probably unnecessary. Instead, place baby on Mom’s abdomen where their weight and little kicking feet signal to the uterus that its work is done and it can contract. Don’t push breastfeeding, but allow Mom and baby to initiate it naturally if that is the plan. Avoid interceding or taking preventative measures regarding bleeding unless blood loss is significant enough to cause symptoms of shock.
3) No Hatting: like #1, keeping baby’s head bare helps facilitate the natural flow of oxytocin by allowing Mom to take in her newborn’s scent. Place baby skin-on-skin with Mom and cover both with a blanket. Mom’s temperature will regulate baby’s so a hat is not necessary and a bare head will go long way toward facilitating early bonding and breastfeeding.
BONUS TIP: keep that cord intact! There’s no need to cut the umbilical cord, even in emergencies. Keeping baby connected to mom’s oxygenated blood supply and allowing baby to receive their full complement of their own blood is much more beneficial in both the long- and short-term.
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