The L&D nurses told me last weekend that they love when I come to their deliveries. If a baby comes out pink and crying, I bring extra baby blankets to the side of mom's bed and monitor the baby while mom holds baby on her chest. I let mom hold baby at least 5 minutes. It's really not that long! But... unfortunately... most other newborn nurses want the baby on the warmer before the baby is even one minute old. One of the L&D nurses told me that a baby nurse actually starts tapping her foot if the baby lingers "too long" with the mom. This just disgusts me.
Another bad practice that I am trying to reverse is the length of time the baby is on the warmer away from the mom. Some of the older nurses do all of their charting at the same time as their hands-on care, which practically doubles the time the baby is on the warmer. I've seen some nurses selfishly keep the babies on the warmer until 35 or 40 minutes of age. That's a heck of a long time, considering the baby goes up to the nursery at 2 hours of age for the first bath (another habit that I hope to change one day!). I always try to get the baby back to the mom by 13-15 minutes of age (and that's after the mom holds the baby the first 5-6 minutes). This way, I can keep the baby with the mom as much as I can while also doing all the tasks that my unit expects me to do. I try to be as quick and efficient as I can!
I also always try to give the mom a "sneak peek" of their baby after a cesarean. I remember with my c/s, I didn't see my baby for at least 25 minutes after birth. I saw his picture on our camera and his footprint before I actually saw him. That was a loooong time to wait. I figure that footprints, bands, and meds can wait until baby has been seen, touched, and kissed by his mama!!! As soon as baby is "stable," I will wrap him in a blanket and take him to mom for a minute or two before I bring him back to the warmer to do all my "stuff". Even though it seems like such a simple thing, I believe that this really goes a long way for post-c/s bonding!!!!
So, anyway, back to the main point of this post. Over the last few weeks, I've gotten into several great discussions in L&D about natural childbirth, breastfeeding, skin-to-skin, and bonding. I've been able to pick out a few fantastic L&D nurses who really are on the same page. I've had some really beautiful births with them. I'm glad that I really stand out as being "gentle-birth-friendly." After spending four years in the newborn nursery, where the majority of nurses have never breastfed and no one seemed to understand my desire to VBAC ("why don't you just have another C/S?" ::sigh::), it's good to know that there are some other nurses who "get it." They understand the birth is such a valuable and important experience for the mother. It's a time she'll never get back. We have to protect that time and treat it as sacred and special.
There are so many practices that I would still love to change in our hospital, but I'm glad my "baby-steps" have not gone unnoticed, and I hope that they catch on! The moms who graciously let us into their birthing space deserve that much from us!!!