Skin to skin and world peace 

Thank you first of all to Natalie Corden ( ‪@corden1326 ‬ on Twitter)  for mentioning world peace in a text to me this week . 

This text got me thinking – what if our behaviours all stemmed from the way we are treated as we are born and when we are held by our birth mothers ? 

Midwives can and do have a huge impact on the way women react to their newborn children . A midwife must show compassion and describe the baby positively to start the love connection and bonding process – for example I say things like “your baby has the most lovely face” and I describe the mouth , eyes, cheeks, nose and forehead depending on what I’m asked – some women don’t want me to talk and I respect their choices . That’s my job as far as I’m concerned . However not all women have been educated on the immense benefits of skin to skin contact . I have been at births where women have changed their mind about not breastfeeding because their baby showed an interest in the breast because of skin to skin contact. These women report not knowing that a baby can crawl to the breast of its birth mother and self latch – they might have been ‘told’ but they may have forgotten- that’s why we have midwives. So, if as a midwife you ask the woman how she intends to feed her baby you are getting it all wrong – it’s not about that – it’s about giving a baby a choice as much as a mum and it’s about waiting , being kind , patience , explanation and compassion . 

If as midwives we say one hour skin to skin has happened how can it be that the birth is registered and the newborn has both an NHS and hospital number within 10-20 minutes of birth ? Are we putting our focus on digital existence not mammalian needs ? I think so . 

Time to rethink the birth registration process I feel . 

So as an experiment I’d like you to question your own interruption of skin to skin for the following reasons 

  • “Time to weigh baby” is that a question ? A rhetorical question ? A command ? Asking for permission ? 
  • “You need to get to the shower” is this what animals do ? Jump in water as soon as possible after birth has happened? 
  • NEED to check baby over  
  • NEED to give baby Vitamin K 

Are the above reasons to interrupt skin to skin contact ? Are they reasons to continue it ? 

Neonate feel less pain in skin to skin , they cry more when non-family members handle them & they know their mothers and their fathers – they don’t know us . 

So the next time you are with a woman and her newborn , is like you to question your own practice . Are you doing it the way you’ve always done it – or are you aware you need to change , be slower , be more patient – and perhaps give that baby a chance of just one breastfeed that might go onto be another breastfeed and another ? 
World peace and world health – just imagine ? 

Thank you for reading.  

With love, 

Jenny ❤️

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