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Baby’s Here!

When a baby is born it is actually quite under-developed - while other animals are able to stand up and walk just a few minutes after birth human babies are quite helpless. That said, some of a baby’s reflexes after birth are surprising and you may find that your baby crawls from your belly to your breast just minutes after it is born (known as the breast crawl).

What happens immediately after birth
You did it, after all that waiting, worrying and work, your baby is finally here! In the case of a vaginal birth, you, your midwife, nurse or doctor will pick up your baby and put her on your belly or chest (depending on how long the umbilical cord is) in direct skin to skin contact, covered by a light blanket. In the case of a caesarean, you will get your baby in skin to skin contact a minute or two after it is born (ask about this ahead of time, most hospitals should offer skin to skin in the
operating theatre routinely).
Baby will be wet when she is put on your skin, perhaps patted dry slightly - her first bath will be in a day or two. Babies are not dirty and the liquids she brings with her from the womb are protective. You will both be covered so you won’t be cold, and given the opportunity to get to know each other.
The first hour after birth is vital. She is adapting to life outside the womb and being introduced to air and bacteria for the first time. Skin to skin contact is extremely important for her first few hours of life as your temperature and breathing pattern helps her regulate her own temperature and breathing. The bacteria she picked up as she left your vagina (or after your caesarean) and during skin to skin are colonising her digestive system.
About half the cells in your body are actually microbes (bacteria, viruses and fungi) that are instrumental in keeping you healthy. Most of them are found in your digestive system and they are key to our immunity. Being skin to skin for hours after birth helps your baby become colonised by your friendly bacteria. It is very important that baby has skin to skin contact, ideally with mum, but also with dad or another loved one.

Cupid’s arrow - literally
Oxytocin, the hormone of love, peaks to its highest level in your lifetime as you hold this beautiful new human on your skin. Baby’s hormone levels are also higher than they ever will be as she looks deeply into her mother’s eyes and sees the face behind the voice she has been hearing for months. Parents are often not prepared for these very special, once-in-a-lifetime moments and don’t know how important they are for bonding. Talk to your baby, tell her how much you’ve been waiting for her, sing her a song you’ve prepared for this occasion, or a song you’ve been singing to her throughout pregnancy.
Whatever you do, do not ruin this moment by making calls, texting or posting to social media. It will make no difference to your family and friends if you wait an hour or two to tell them that baby has arrived.