BMH celebrates World Breastfeeding Week with official launch of ‘The Golden Hour’

BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro Memorial Hospital announced that 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, Aug. 1 through Wednesday, Aug. 7.

In 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.

According to the BMH announcement, 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.

According to BMH Birthing Center Nurse Aimee Creelman, studies show mothers and infants who remain skin-to-skin during the golden hour are more likely to succeed in breastfeeding. She says that BMH has recently begun to initiate the practice, and that delivering mothers report they benefit.

“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,” Creelman said in the announcement.

The golden hour is part of the “10 Steps to Empower Mothers: Vermont Statewide Breastfeeding Initiative” in which BMH is taking part.

BMH says that 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.

The goal is to increase evidence-based maternity care practices as standards of care in Vermont hospitals, according to the announcement.

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