Did you know that skin-to-skin contact during the first 60 minutes after birth is crucial for breastfeeding and bonding ? The best way to insure a good start is by immediately placing the baby on mother’s bare chest after birth. This is when baby is most alert and the latch reflex is strongest. Many hospitals use this crucial bonding time to do routine exams. Imagine after waiting 9 months to hold your baby, he or she is not in your arms but down the hall, alone on his back, arms flailing, disoriented and crying while a nurse does non-urgent procedures and paperwork. One review of over 30 studies showed that skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby at birth reduces crying, improves mother-baby interaction, keeps the baby warmer, and helps women breastfeed successfully. Health facilities that routinely separate newborns and mothers are simply out of date. Make sure you get the best start with your baby. Write a birth plan and talk to your provider about this crucial time for you and your baby. Ask them about their policies and protocols and don’t be afraid to change providers if you don’t get the answers you are looking for. Pick a Mother-Friendly pediatrician ahead of time and get written orders from him or her as well. Plan for this sacred time for you and your new one. You won’t regret it!