It’s a common mistake to believe that babies need to be placed in a loving environment to be successful.
That’s not always true, says Dr. Laura Kessel, director of pediatric rehabilitation at The Hospital for Special Surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“We know that the best place to place babies is in the arms of a loving mother, and that’s where the babies most thrive,” she says.
The importance of bonding with babies in the womb can extend beyond that.
“They’re developing their brains and developing the ability to regulate their own emotions and their own thoughts, and then their brains can go into action to care for them,” Kessel says.
That can mean helping them develop a sense of self, learn to walk, or help them learn to respond to stimuli in their environment.
“These are all very important for their long-term development and their development of the body,” she adds.
What do you do when you’re not in a safe place to give birth?
Kessel advises mothers to take a moment to think about what they need to do to ensure their baby has a safe and comfortable birth.
“The best thing to do is go to the hospital, or the birth center or whatever hospital is closest to you,” she explains.
“If you’re close enough to a hospital, you should be able to call your OB-GYN or doctor, and ask them to take care of the baby.
If you don’t have a phone, you could text your OB to make sure you’re connected to them.”
The more likely you are to call, the more care will be provided, Kessel adds.
“It’s so important to have a safe birth and to be safe,” she advises.
“So many people go to hospital to give their babies CPR.
That is not the best way to give your baby.”
How to care of your baby during labor and delivery can be a challenging task for parents, especially for babies who are a bit older.
“I know that it’s been really tough for moms, because we have been able to really understand and have learned so much about what is normal for a baby, but also what is not normal,” says Kessel.
She says it’s important to talk to your OB, or to the baby’s doctor about what kind of care you would want from them.
“One thing that I would say is that babies are like little boys and girls, and you have to be open to how they are,” Ksel says.
“As a mom, you want to be able and comfortable with your baby and to have him or her be comfortable with you.”
How should you talk to the OB about your baby’s birth?
If you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed, talk to an OB-Gyn and get a support group to talk through the issues that may be holding you back, Ksel adds.
The OB-gyns at The hospital also have a group of trained nurse practitioners, who can help parents find the best support and care for their babies.
“What we’re doing with this group is teaching moms that you’re never going to be perfect, but you can make sure that your baby is in a very safe place,” Kesssel says, noting that the nurses can also offer support and advice on how to help the baby in the delivery room.
“This group is for moms who want to know how to support their babies during the birth process, and for people who are pregnant, for people with babies, for babies with their moms, for anyone who is in an anxious or emotional situation,” she notes.
“When I started my OB practice, I had this idea of, ‘How can I make this a safe environment for babies, and do it in a way that’s really easy for my mom?'”
Now she offers a baby support group for pregnant mothers, so they can share their stories, learn about their baby, and discuss how they can help their babies, Kessessel adds, as well as provide a way for parents to get more information about the types of care they can expect from their OB.
“All moms want to support and love their babies and they are very open to that, but it’s so difficult to be patient with them,” she stresses.
“There is a lot of stress and anxiety in the world, but moms don’t need to worry about it because they have so much to do, and they’re so open and caring.”
You can also learn more about the birth experience at the hospital.
“At the hospital you’re in an incubator for the first few hours, and there is a ventilator, which is a big breathing tube, and the baby is fed through a tube that goes to the stomach,” Kesson says.
And the nurses will also be in the NICU for about 24 hours after the birth.
The hospital is a safe haven for mothers who need it, and Kessel encourages mothers to explore this area with their OBs.
“You should talk to them as soon as