The Newborn Habitat
"Habitat." The natural home or environment of an animal, plant or other organism. We my friends, are animals. Mammals to be exact. Our natural habitat is after we enter the world is on or mother's body. As infants we are hardwired to seek and be comforted in which we are snuggled up right next to the body that kept us safe during gestation. The miraculous human body that nurtured, protected, and sustained our growth and development as we evolved into a small human. The dyad of mom and infant is a unit consisting of two parts. Gestalt. An organized whole that is more than the sum of its individual parts.
With this knowledge, it very disheartening to think that a newborn would every be separated following birth during the most vulnerable period in their lives as they transition into life outside of the womb.
When we keep mother and baby together in baby's natural habitat as nature intended, then we begin to see the most amazing beginning of the breastfeeding journey. Baby will find its way to the breast. Baby feels the warmth of mom skin to skin and temperature is regulated. Innate and hardwired reflexes present in baby, even in utero, begin to emerge and baby starts to move and crawl up towards the breast. Tummy to mummy, hips flexed, feet alternating stepping. Baby hears her mom's voice, he smells mom's unique scent. He tastes the amniotic fluid covering his hands and is comforted that the same sensation will be discovered at the breast. Baby sees the darker pigmented skin of the areola and this helps to direct her movement.
It is critical that outside of medical circumstances, that baby and mom remain close, skin to skin, undisturbed. This is survival.
If baby is separated from mom, she is removed from her habitat. Her defense and protective mechanisms dominate. He is scared and often protests physically crying in distress from despair. The stress response emerges which shuts down the body as baby profoundly reacts to the separation from her mother. This is unnecessary and can affect the entire trajectory of the breastfeeding relationship. Early experiences can drive long-term implications, so lets be proactive instead of reactive and support them most amazing miracle on earth. Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond.
Prioritize speaking with your care team regarding your intent to remain with baby and never be separated unless truly medically indicated. Newborn care can be given right on mom's body. Stay skin-to-skin with your baby in a quiet space with minimal to no visitors. Experience the mutual oxytocin surge of eternal bonding that has a sedating effect and calm mood. Watch baby's magical breast crawl and first nursing at the breast. Trust your innate feelings and maternal instincts to be close and united. Honor the intent of nature for mom and baby to remain together as baby begins life in her natural habitat.
Nurture. Nourish. Flourish.
Bloom and Grow Lactation, PLLC