|The first hours after birth are a developmentally distinct time for a baby and there are well documented short and long term physical and psychological advantages when a baby is held skin to skin during this time.
When a baby is in skin to skin contact after birth there are nine observable newborn stages, happening in a specific order,
that are innate and instinctive for the baby. Within each of these stages, there are a variety of actions the baby may
Stage 1: The Birth Cry
The first stage is the birth cry. This distinctive cry occurs immediately after birth as the baby’s lungs expand.
Stage 2: Relaxation
The second stage is the relaxation stage. During the relaxation stage, the newborn exhibits no mouth movements and
the handsare relaxed. This stage usually begins when the birth cry has stopped. The baby is skin to skin with the mother
and covered with a warm, dry towel or blanket.
Stage 3: Awakening
The third stage is the awakening stage. During this stage the newborn exhibits small thrusts of movement in the head
and shoulders.This stage usually begins about 3 minutes after birth. The newborn in the awakening stage may exhibit head
movements, open his eyes,show some mouth activity and might move his shoulders.
Stage 4: Activity
The fourth stage is the activity stage. During this stage, the newborn begins to make increased mouthing and
sucking movements as the rooting reflex becomes more obvious. This stage usually begins about 8 minutes after birth.
Stage 5: Rest
At any point, the baby may rest. The baby may have periods of resting between periods of activity throughout the first
hour or so after birth.
Stage 6: Crawling
The sixth stage is the crawling stage. The baby approaches the breast during this stage with short periods of action
that result in reaching the breast and nipple. This stage usually begins about 35 minutes after birth.
Stage 7: Familiarization
The seventh stage is called familiarization. During this stage, the newborn becomes acquainted with the mother by
licking the nipple and touching and massaging her breast. This stage usually begins around 45 minutes after birth and
could last for20 minutes or more.
Stage 8: Suckling
The eighth stage is suckling. During this stage, the newborn takes the nipple, self attaches and suckles. This early
experience oflearning to breastfeed usually begins about an hour after birth. If the mother has had analgesia/anesthesia
during labor, it may take more time with skin to skin for the baby to complete the stages and begin suckling.
Stage 9: Sleep
The final stage is sleep. The baby and sometimes the mother fall into a restful sleep. Babies usually fall asleep about
1½ to 2 hours after birth.