Meeting Your Newborn

For 9 months, or even longer, you have imagined the day that you would hold your baby in your arms. You have probably seen him or her with an ultra sound and certainly have felt him kicking and moving about in your womb. Many parents begin forming a relationship with their baby before he is born and the baby in the womb is actually beginning to know them.

Getting Ready To Be Born

Through modern technology, researches have been able to study intrauterine life and have discovered that babies spend time practicing actions that they will need once they are born. Babies see, hear, taste, feel and perform numerous movements such as sucking. They respond to outside stimuli such as sound and light. Far from just floating around passively in the dark, babies are preparing themselves for life outside of the womb and specifically for their first meeting with their parents.

The First Minutes of Baby's Life

Immediately after birth, your baby should be toweled dried thoroughly and then placed between your breasts or next to you. While your body temperature will adjust to keep your baby warm, the baby recognizes your voice and your smell. Though very different than his previous surroundings, when your baby is with you he is in familiar territory and feels secure. Newborns usually begin life in a state of quiet alertness in which he especially enjoys looking at his mother and father's faces. Your newborn sees things best that are eight to ten inches from his face. This is the average distance between your baby at the breast and your face. Researches confirmed that babies prefer to look at faces than at anything else and that they learn to recognize their mother's face within hours of being born.

Researches also found that newborns prefer the sound of live (non-recorded) human voices to other sounds. They especially enjoy high-pitched voices and mothers and fathers instinctively use high-pitched voices when speaking to their newborn. Sound travels easily through the womb to your fetus, so your baby will already be familiar with your voice and your partner's when he is born.

First Feed

Still lying between your breasts, your baby will initiate his first feed. Your baby uses his senses of smell, taste and sight to locate your breast. The smell and taste of amniotic fluid on his unwashed hands resembles the smell and taste of a substance on your breast. He instinctively tastes and smells his own hands as he makes his way to the familiar smell on your body. Your baby is born with a stepping reflex that he uses to propel himself to your breast and muscular strength in his arms, shoulders and neck, which further help him make his own way to your nipple. Eventually your baby will find the nipple himself and latch on instinctively. It may take a few minutes or it may take an hour. Your baby is in no hurry as he savors this long awaited first meeting with you.