Healthy Children Project, Inc.
East Sandwich, MA 02537
Tel: (508) 888-8044


the 9 stages

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 demomstrate. The baby may do one, some, or all of these actions.

What to do:

The mother and her baby are covered with a blanket. The baby's head stays out. The baby is naked and not wrapped. The baby and the mother will rest skin-to-skin for an hour or two after birth. This is a very special time for the mother and baby. Necessary procedures and checks are done with the mother and baby skin-to-skin.

If there are medical reasons that keep the mother and her baby from going skin-to-skin immediatley after birth, start as soon as possible.

The 9 Stages:

1

The Birth Cry

The distinctive cry occurs immediately after birth as the baby takes his first breath of air.

birth cry relaxation

Relaxation

The baby lies still listening to the mother's heartbeat.

2
3

Awakening

The baby opens her eyes and sees the mom for the first time.

awakening activity

Activity

Baby starts to move his hands, shoulders, and mouth.

4
5

Rest

At any point, the baby may rest.

Rest crawling

Crawling

Baby starts to make her way to the breast.

6
7

Familiarization

Baby gets acquainted with mom's breast.

familiarization suckling

Suckling

Baby's first experience at breastfeeding. Natural, instinctive, peaceful.

8
9

Sleep

Mother and baby often fall asleep after this touching and emotional time together.

sleep 9

"After such an intense birth experience, we could be quiet and still together, getting to know each other. It was so calming for both of us"