As a brand new labor and delivery/postpartum/nursery nurse, I was at first skeptical of “The Sacred Hour.” After the newborn was born, the infant’s nurse would take the infant to the radiant warmer, assess it, give immunizations and note the weight and height. The nurse then brought the infant back to its mother, usually swaddled in two warm blankets. There are so many things the delivery nurse has to do after a delivery that having these “tasks” completed made it a lot less stressful on her.
Nobody likes change, especially if the way things were before were working just fine, which is what made many nurses anxious and skeptical of implementing The Sacred Hour.
After months of implementing it, I can honestly tell you the benefits that have come from it have really opened the eyes of many nurses. This big change that all of us nurses were so anxious about, has truly shown to be one of the most positive that has come to the Labor and Delivery – Postpartum/Nursery world.
For those of you who are the first time soon to be mommies, you may wonder what could be so beneficial from this? Or perhaps you’ve been educated on what The Sacred Hour is all about, and think it’s something very neat and interesting to you. To be honest, I don’t think anyone will truly know how great The Sacred Hour is until you have witnessed it firsthand. Of course, as an OB nurse who has no kids of her own (yet), you can bet I will be doing uninterrupted skin to skin for as long as possible. The benefits and experience are so worth it.
During The Sacred Hour, as soon as the infant is delivered, he or she is placed directly on mom’s chest, skin to skin. The bonding experience that is created from this is unexplainable. It’s an amazing experience watching this first hand. From seeing the infant look up to his or her mommy, listening to her voice or her heartbeat is instantly calming for them. It is also very calming and relaxing for the mother. I’ve seen multiple infants who stop their “birth cry” almost immediately once they are placed skin to skin, compared to the infants whose birth cries last much longer when they are in the radiant warmer. I’ve seen infants whose temperatures and respiratory rates are stabilized, who are instantly calmed after receiving their immunizations, and who just overall make a better transition into the world from being on their mommies chest skin to skin immediately.
Watching the infants go through the nine stages is also amazing to see. I’ve seen daddies have their pamphlets out and are able to identify which stage the newborn is in, which leads to a great bonding experience for him as well. During the 9 stages, the infant will eventually crawl to the mother’s breast. Many parents cannot believe their eyes when they see this occur. Once the infant has crawled to the breast, they will actually latch themselves on. A positive outcome I have seen from the newborns doing this is that throughout the rest of their hospital stay they are able to independently latch themselves on and also achieve a better latch. The Sacred Hour is beneficial for the mother as well. I have seen mothers more independent and feel more confident with latching the infant on because they have gone through this bonding experience and have seen the infant latch on themselves initially. I truly feel The Sacred Hour has led to a much easier transition to breastfeeding for mommies and their newborns.
My biggest advice for anyone who is interested in breastfeeding is to definitely participate in The Sacred Hour. I have heard multiple patients say that they did not do The Sacred Hour with their previous children and then do it, and absolutely love it and wish they had done it before. The benefits from it are absolutely astronomical!
This blog post originally appeared on the Live Well Omaha Kids site. Live Well Omaha Kids is CHI Health's community coalition.