At many hospitals, the hour after a baby’s birth is filled with routine tests, procedures and lots of family and friends anxious to meet the new arrival. With all the interruptions, mom, dad and baby spend little time together.

Yet recent research shows just the opposite should happen: a newborn gains a long list of benefits—physically and emotionally—if allowed to successfully bond with mom and dad during the first critical hour of life. Bringing these well-documented advantages to each baby—as well as key benefits to the new parents—is why St. Jude Medical Center designed its popular “Babymoon.” Newborns are placed skin-to-skin with their mothers—and all interruptions are kept outside while mom, baby and dad get to know each other.

“This uninterrupted beginning is an amazing and very memorable time for families,” explains Dawn Hernandez, RN, MSN, Director of Maternal Newborn Services. “By taking advantage of this critical period of time, we not only strengthen and nurture the newborn’s development, but the development of this new family.”

As the baby lies on or next to the mom, the skin-to-skin contact helps regulate the newborn’s breathing and body temperature, as well as creates critical sensory awakenings. In addition, the close, undisturbed contact produces hormonal changes in the mom, promoting physical recovery and emotional well-being. The “Babymoon” also facilitates successful breastfeeding and deepens the bond between parents and baby.

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