The Brattleboro Memorial Hospital announced its Birthing Center will institute a “Golden Hour” for all healthy newborn babies and their parents. The start of the new policy is set to coincide with World Breastfeeding Week, which runs Thursday, August 1 through Wednesday, August 7.

Golden HourIn maternity care, the Golden Hour is defined as the first hour of life for the newborn. Immediately following the delivery, BMH Birthing Center staff will place the baby on the mother’s chest. No separation will occur during this time unless medically necessary and interruptions will be kept to a minimum, enabling the baby to gradually adapt to extra-uterine life.

Fathers and/or one support person will be encouraged to participate in this special time. Visitors will be asked to delay their visits until the new family has had an opportunity to bond and recover. If the mother has a cesarean birth she and the newborn will be reunited as soon as safely possible.

BMH Birthing Center Nurse Aimee Creelman, RN, MSN, IBCLC says that studies show mothers and infants who remain skin to skin during the Golden Hour are more likely to have breastfeeding success. She adds that BMH has recently begun to initiate the practice and it has been well-received by delivering mothers.

“For the breastfeeding or formula feeding mother, this special time increases the bonding between mother and newborn. With the added benefit that for the breastfed infant, it is the ideal time to initiate feeding,” says Creelman.

The Golden Hour is part of the Ten Steps to Empower Mothers: Vermont Statewide Breastfeeding Initiative in which BMH is taking part. The Vermont Department of Health’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program has partnered with the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians, and the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program (VCHIP) to create this quality improvement initiative focused on increasing evidence-based maternity care practices as standards of care in Vermont hospitals.

The BMH Birthing Center provides comfortable, home-like rooms and highly personalized nursing care. Services include doula support, tub births, and certified lactation consultants. Should a caesarean birth be necessary, there is a special operating room and around-the-clock access to an anesthesiologist.