Meeting Your Baby
When she is born, your baby may cry, whimper, or be quiet, but none of these is a bad sign. The important thing is that the baby is breathing. Once this is ascertained, your baby should be handed to you right away. The best way to keep the baby warm is by holding her to your bare skin and covering her up with warm blankets. Even before the umbilical cord is clamped or cut, you can hold your baby as high on your chest as the cord will allow.
Cesarean-born babies are just as capable of snuggling skin to skin as vaginally delivered babies. If you don't feel up to it during the remainder of the surgery, your husband can nestle the baby inside his shirt for warmth. You can also ask the nurse to help you breastfeed while the surgery is completed.
Your baby will probably feel a bit wet and potentially be tinged with blood. This is your blood—not the baby's blood. You or your husband can take a clean towel and dry the baby while your newborn gazes up at you (new babies can see best from a distance of about 8 to 12 inches) and listens to the sound of your heartbeat from the outside. Your baby will probably be wrinkled and may appear reddish or swollen. Don't worry if her head looks a bit misshapen. New babies’ heads are designed to change shape as they fit through your pelvis. A normal, round head shape will develop as the skull hardens.
During these first few minutes and through the first hour, your baby will likely be in a quiet, very alert state. You will both be taking in so much during this time. In addition to relief that the labor is over, you will likely feel an instant, overwhelming love for your baby.
Does my baby have to be weighed or bathed immediately?Generally, these tasks can wait a couple of hours until you and your baby are ready to have them done. If you know you want to spend at least one uninterrupted hour with your baby before he is weighed and measured, be sure to mention this desire in your birth plan.
If your baby needs to be seen for emergency reasons or is taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) after birth, do not fear. This does not necessarily indicate tragedy, and you can still be with your baby in the NICU once you are both stable. While these first few moments are wonderful and precious, you will still have a sense of connection with your baby if these moments must come a bit later. Your and the baby's health are the most important issues.