The Center for New Life and Women’s Pavilion at CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth practices the Golden Hour, allowing new moms to spend uninterrupted time holding and nursing their babies
immediately after birth. As long as there are no health concerns, babies are either placed immediately on mom’s chest following a vaginal delivery or spend a few minutes with mom in the operating room after a C-section before the Golden Hour is finished in the recovery area.
A Head Start Toward Breastfeed Success
Moms who practice skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth often have a greater milk supply and better success at breastfeeding exclusively, which the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends until babies are 6 months old. The AAP further recommends gradually adding solid foods while continuing breastfeeding until at least your baby’s first birthday.
"During the first hour of life babies experience several periods of sleep and wakefulness and will eventually initiate breastfeeding on their own," says Stacie Jones, RNC, BSN, IBCLC,lead lactation consultant at CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth. “Uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact allows this important developmental process to happen naturally.” Lauren Adams learned firsthand how skin-to-skin contact makes a difference when she gave birth to her daughter, Oaklee, in June. Following her C-section, the 23-year-old spent 40 blissful minutes holding her daughter in the recovery area. Throughout her hospital stay, she continued putting Oaklee on her chest if the baby was fussy or experienced difficulty latching on to her breast. Each time, the contact calmed her little girl and made breastfeeding easier.
“It was very soothing for Oaklee to have skin-to-skin contact,” Lauren says. “The nurses told me that having skin-to-skin time whenever Oaklee experienced latching problems would solve the issue, and they were right. If you’re going to breastfeed, having skin-to-skin contact is extremely important.”
The Golden Hour represents CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth’s commitment to teamwork and quality. To bring the Golden Hour to our community, we partnered with the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative, which is designed to help hospitals support exclusive breastfeeding. The team also completed a rigorous training program spearheaded by Stacie Jones, RNC, BSN, IBCLC, lead lactation consultant; Lauree Thompson, M.D., neonatologist; and Deborah Sherman, M.D., OB/GYN.
In the year and a half since implementation, breastfeeding initiation rates have increased from 69 to 85 percent. The program has been so successful, our team has been asked to mentor other hospitals.