What does the newborn feel in the first hours of life?


What does the newborn feel in the first hours of life?

Although we often focus on the mother, it is clear that for the baby the birth is the discovery of a new world of sensations.

What changes does the newborn face? Temperature, hunger, breathing… are just some of those novelties after leaving the womb.

Temperature change

The ambient temperature is one of the main changes that the newborn experiences as soon as he arrives in the world.

The baby goes from a stable and uniform temperature of the amniotic fluid to an obvious “cold”. For this reason, it is necessary to ensure that the baby does not lose temperature, putting on a hat and above all placing it in contact with the mother’s body, skin to skin.

The force of gravity

This passed practically unnoticed in the womb, when the baby floats in the amniotic fluid .

Suddenly, the body gains weight and movements require an unprecedented effort, especially from its proportionally largest and heaviest part, the head, which we have to help support. The baby’s movements are very limited at the moment.

The skin in contact with the air

If it was previously in contact with amniotic fluid, at birth it disappears and, although there is a layer of vernix caseosa or sebaceous oil that keeps it hydrated, the dermis will soon notice dryness.

That’s why it is not necessary to remove that layer right away! Vernix contains substances that protect the baby against bacterial invasion at birth and keep it hydrated.

baby’s first breath

The first breath is a great curiosity, because the baby goes from receiving oxygen through the mother’s blood through the umbilical cord to taking its first breath.

How does this change happen? Passing through the birth canal, the amniotic fluid is reabsorbed and expelled from the respiratory tract, and in the baby’s first breath, which may take a few seconds, the alveoli of the lungs fill with air, which displaces the remaining fluid and starts the pulmonary circulation. The lungs swell and begin to work on their own.

Placental circulation ceases

It no longer receives oxygen and nutrients through the umbilical cord as it separates from the organ that attached the fetus to the mother, the placenta. The vascular system of the newborn is also modified, which begins to function independently.

It is recommended to delay the cutting of the umbilical cord even until it stops beating so that all the benefits reach the baby , especially the iron reserves.

feeling of hunger

In the womb, the fetus does not go hungry, but when the supply of maternal nutrients is suspended, it must procure energy for itself. After the effort of birth, he needs to feed and the sooner we put him to the breast, the better.

Look for the breast to suckle

The sucking reflex is innate and even in the womb the fetus can suck its thumb. Now he has to latch on to the nipple and mom’s smell will encourage him to get to it. This reflex is essential in the newborn to stimulate the nipple, produce prolactin and cause the rise of milk for breastfeeding.

feel new smells

The odors of the mother’s food reach the fetus through the amniotic fluid (this could define its olfactory preferences), but at birth it will notice many other stimuli that reach the sense of smell. She immediately recognizes the smell of mom, which gives her peace and calm.

And there was light

Although in the womb the baby can see some light in the dim light, it will be at birth that he will really discover how bright the world is, even when he perceives only shadows at first and his ability to focus is quite limited. Some hospitals seek a soft environment so that the transition is not so abrupt.

a world of sounds

The fetus already hears in the womb, and recognizes the voice of its mother, but not with such intensity. Suddenly, the intensity of the sounds multiplies, so we also have to try to “lower the volume”.

As we can see, there are many changes and some quite shocking, so it is convenient that we accompany our baby in this transition and make him feel safe and loved , smoothing out that “hard road” that everyone has to go through.

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