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Labor and Delivery

The Golden Hour

Golden HourSharing the first hour of your baby’s life will create memories that last a lifetime. The best place for your baby to be for this first hour is in your arms, close to your heart! These precious moments should be treasured, for this is truly “The Golden Hour.” As you gaze into each other’s eyes, hold, touch and talk to your new baby, your heart will be filled with love and joy as you experience a beautiful beginning of this lifelong bond.

This Golden Hour should be spent holding Skin to Skin. All babies and mothers benefit from Skin to Skin care. It is so important that we want to do everything we can to provide you with the opportunity of sharing this special time with your newborn together as a new family in our Family Birth Center.

Why is this Golden Hour so important? 

Studies show that a close mother-child bond is critical for the baby’s ongoing growth and development. Skin to Skin contact in the first hours and days of your baby’s life plays a key role in helping you become securely attached. This closeness is one of the best ways for you to learn about your baby, and begin this important process of bonding and connecting with your newborn. Women’s and Children’s Services at Memorial Hermann strongly encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies.

Recent studies show benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby. Babies will often seek out the breast and begin nursing during the Golden Hour. Your nurse will assist and guide you and your baby during this time.

Benefits of holding your baby Skin to Skin:


  • Are happier, calmer and cry less
  • Stay warmer
  • Have higher blood sugar levels
  • Are protected by some of your good bacteria
  • Have more stable heart, respiratory, and oxygen rates
  • Breastfeed better which helps them be healthier. Breastfed babies have less risk of getting painful ear infections, asthma, diarrhea, RSV, diabetes, obesity, and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

  • Bond more with your baby
  • Gain confidence and satisfaction from caring for your baby
  • Learn when your baby is getting hungry
  • Breastfeed more easily and make more breast milk. Breastfeeding is good for moms too! It helps you bleed less and lose weight. It decreases your risk of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Skin to Skin is easy! Here's how

  • As soon as possible after the birth, hold your dried baby against your chest and tummy, facing you with his/her arms hugging you.
  • Cover your baby’s back with several layers of blankets. A hat and a diaper are also a good idea.
  • Enjoy the closeness and bonding with your baby, uninterrupted. Ask your family and friends to give you and your baby privacy during The Golden Hour, and wait to welcome the baby until after you have shared this special time alone together.

Beyond the Golden Hour

Skin to Skin holding benefits the baby even after The Golden Hour is over. You should continue to enjoy this special closeness as often as possible during your postpartum stay with us, and in the early weeks at home.

Our staff is dedicated to supporting you and your baby. We will gladly help facilitate your feeding choice for your newborn. Please tell your nurse if you prefer not to participate in The Golden Hour, or Skin to Skin care. We are here to assist you in any way possible to ensure that you have a wonderful birth experience.