Healthy babies born by vaginal delivery are usually able to stay with their mothers. In many cases, immediate newborn assessments including weight and length, giving medicine, and even the first bath, are done right in the mother's room. As quickly as possible, a new baby is placed in his or her mother's arms.
In the first hour or two after birth, most babies are wide-awake and alert. This offers a wonderful opportunity for parents to get to know their new baby. A baby will often turn to the familiar sound of his or her mother's voice. A newborn sees best about 8 to 12 inches away -- the distance to his or her mother's face when held.
This is also the best time to begin breastfeeding. Babies know how to nurse right after birth. Although some medicines and anesthesia given to the mother during labor and delivery may affect the baby's sucking ability, most healthy babies are able to breastfeed in these first few hours. This first feeding helps with milk production. It also helps the mother's uterus contract to slow bleeding.
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