A new study shows how some very common labor medications affect newborn behavior in the first hour. As the video below explains, there are 9 stages newborns go through after birth. Perhaps you've seen videos of the "breast crawl", which show babies finding their mother's nipple with minimal help. Keep in mind that these are unmedicated babies. If a mother has an epidural or gets Pitocin to speed up labor (and very often she gets both), it goes to her baby and depresses either the instinct to breast crawl or the ability to do so. The exposure to Pitocin and fentanyl was dose-dependent, meaning that the longer the mother had the epidural and/or the Pitocin the less likely it was for her baby to latch within the first hour.
It is very clear from other studies that breastfeeding sooner leads to better breastfeeding outcomes and less cases of dangerous jaundice. These relationships should be clearly explained and understood before labor, so that mothers know what they might be dealing with as a consequence of an intervention.
I'm a natural childbirth educator, certified breastfeeding specialist, and doula in San Angelo, TX. Here is where I put healthy recipes, current research, and helpful articles for pregnancy, postpartum, and life in general. Check back often!