Informed parents means healthy babies. Knowing your rights in childbirth can really make a difference.
The way in which a new baby is welcomed into the world during the first hours after birth may have short- and long-term consequences.
Who should receive it:
How to skin-to-skin:
Skin-to-skin contact between mum and baby or dad and baby should ideally start at birth, but is helpful at any time. It should ideally be continuous day and night, but even shorter periods are still helpful. For comfort a small nappy is fine, and for warmth a cap may be used.
Benefits for the baby:
helping the transition from fetal to newborn life:
Hospital protocols can be modified to support uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth for both vaginal and cesarean births.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and should not be interrupted unless the baby or mother is unstable and requires medical resuscitation.
After the birth of your baby it can be possible that in your hospital there's a protocol that consists of a list of care activities and tasks that nurses often feel they must accomplish as soon as possible to get through their work assignments. But remember:
Anything that is not necessary for the immediate well-being of the newborn and mother can, and should, be delayed until after the first breastfeeding. This includes vitamin K injection, eye prophylaxis antibiotic ointment, foot and hand printing, weighing, measurements and bathing.
It's therefore important to specify this in your birthplan, including the dad referral in case of emergency and also reminding them the skin-to-skin if they do otherwise just after the birth.
Mothers who have had a cesarean delivery often mourn the loss of a normal vaginal birth they had hoped for and are especially disappointed by not having their baby with them immediately after birth. Clever Medical developed and designed a surgical drape to facilitate immediate skin to skin contact after cesarean delivery by eliminating the main physical barrier to the standard of excellence of Immediate Skin to Skin Contact.
How to get the drape (Printable form for you physician)
Dear readers, if you're European and, as I did, you're thinking to move and study midwifery abroad, I can give you some advice and explain the difference between the university systems of the main English speaking countries:
These universities were my first choice between all the different universities in each country.
Things to bear in mind when choosing the right system for you:
All things considered, I highly recommend Ireland for people with good grades at school, and for loads of reasons:
"Fiocco di nascita, corredino, bomboniera & confetti & the gift from the new dad to the new mum"
Italians (and above all Sicilians like me) are cheering people and they don't waste any occasion to celebrate! And what is the most joyful event if not the birth of a new relative in the family?
The day 1 postnatal ward scenario is VERY different compared to the Ireland one. The babies are not rooming-in with the mum, therefore the nursery is the only way for the family visitors to catch photos, opinions on nose-mouth-head-eyes so similar to mum (generally mother side relative) or dad (dad side relative), with the help of unearthed faded photos of the dad & mum at birth.
The nursery doesn't let people in, for the hygiene issue but above all...to manage the complete chaos!
While in Ireland generally just the very close relatives and friends come to visit at the hospital, in Italy instead you witness the entire family crew knocking down the doors, full of presents, flowers, plants, food, perhaps more than on day per stay!
They run into the mum's room kissing and giving the congratulations, to run few minutes after where the big show starts: half an hour of curtains up on the window wall facing the babies, NO FLASH on the babies, the nurse mimes! Impatient relatives knocking on the glass to ask the nurse to hold the baby, or to just move the blanket a bit away from the baby, soon commenting on how rude she was. Who knows why? :D
"Bomboniere nascita" & gift opening
Then the relatives come back to mum's room and give their presents. In Italy we DON'T have a baby shower party at home and just few people come to visit again once the mum is at home, therefore all the presents are given at the bed side.
The mum will have few favors for the guests to say thank you, very similarly to the baby shower party favors, a little object including a tag with the baby's name and date of birth and few sugared almonds, called "bomboniere"! Everyday the dad makes sure that the bed-table is occupied by a big tempting tray of fresh little pastries and biscuits with the add of sugared almonds colored red or blue according to the baby's sex. The guests are offered the sweets, but they cannot say no to at least one sugared almond! It MUST be done for the baby's luck sake! :)
Dad's present to the new mum
The dad is expected to traditionally bring a beautiful bouquet of red roses to the new mum with a sweet card and a gift. Generally it's a precious ring or jewel, but It really depends on the people involved, it could also be just a spa day for two ;)
Fiocco della Nascita, Birth Ribbon
But this was the follow-up of a 9 month planning and traditions involved. Every mum in the hospital, or her mum instead, starts crafting a beautiful "Birth Ribbon", in Italian "Fiocco della nascita", generally decorated in cross stitches baby trimmings, embroidering the baby's name, weight, length and day of birth. She completes it at the hospital and finally hung it on her room's door or at the bed side and then it will be placed in the baby's room at home.
Corredino nascita, birth kit
This is a tradition very deeply rooted in our culture. And an amazing souvenir to keep forever.
Generally up to either the grandmothers or the grand-grandmothers, the "corredino" or birth kit is a hand-made set of knitted baby blankets (wool or cotton depending on the season), baby cardigans, hats, shoes, or even mini-skirts for the little girls! Then baby bed linen, nappy holder, baby bibs & baby towels decorated in cross stitches or painted, with cute animals and generally the baby's name. The corredino is completed with the "camicetta della fortuna" or the good-luck-shirt, which is a tiny baby sleeveless shirt in red or white which is the first thing the baby should wear, wishing him/her the best of luck :)
This is Italy! What about your country birth traditions?
Here I am, after my first 4 weeks of hospital placement that, I've to say, flied so fast!
The excitement of my first uniform, the anxiety on the night before my first day and all the little precious and unforgivable rewards and objectives achieved (& mistakes done!)
Here in Ireland we have a little blue book, which is our record of checks and skills to achieve and collect during the 4 years course (3 years course + 1 year internship) and a competence book, to fill with our achieved domains, goals achieved and previously discussed in 3 different interviews with your preceptor registered midwife with whom you work with and comments made by the midwives you work with. You receive on for every single placement, to submit to the school at the end of each one.
My learning objectives were:
The gaze of the mothers towards their babies was a daily bless, being there for them was priceless and I hope to keep being enchanted with this privilege every single day I will be working as a midwife.
Gloria Coccoli, midwifery student in Dublin, but born in love with life in the land of sun, Sicily, in 1995
Mother of a baby with wings