I had no official birth plans when our kids were born. The only thing that was important to me was that I have some kind of skin-to-skin contact within the first few hours and that I attempted to nurse as soon as I could.
It was interesting to see how things changed in the delivery room in the five years between our kids. With our first, I asked if I could try to nurse about a half hour after she was born. With our second, they asked me if I wanted to try pretty soon after she was born. Our third was put down my hospital gown without me even asking for it the second he came out so that we were skin-to-skin within a minute.
I had done a fair amount of reading about skin-to skin contact and its benefits when I was pregnant. I thought it was fascinating that doing it could help regulate the baby’s heartbeat, temperature and blood sugar. It seemed like such an easy thing to do to keep a newborn calm and to begin the bonding process.
Truth be told, I spent a lot of skin-to-skin time with my kids in their first six months. In the beginning I knew it was good for them – in the end, it was just good for me. I loved the cuddle time. I loved how warm we were together. I loved how little they felt all nestled in a cozy ball on my chest. I loved stroking their bare backs and just breathing them in as I listened to their sleeping breaths and sighs of contentment. Thinking about those moments makes me smile.
I was reminded of them this weekend as I tried to get our 21 month old back to sleep after he woke a few hours after going to bed. He’s been sick and was out of sorts – not wanting to settle in his crib like he usually does. He was fussy and even as I held him and tried to rock him in his chair, he seemed to have no interest in snuggling in to me like he usually does.
For some reason, the thought crossed my mind to take off my sweater. I did and almost immediately he put his head down on my shoulder. Then, to my amazement, he wiggled over to the centre of my chest and rested his body right where he used to as a baby. It didn’t take long before his breathing calmed, his body was still and I could tell he was asleep.
I was exhausted and had been hoping he’d go back to bed for a while. When he finally did, I found myself wanting to stay in his room to enjoy the moment. I felt like I’d been transported back in time as I stroked the nape of his neck, the curve of his ear and rested my cheek against the top of his head. Although there’s never a shortage of cuddles in this house, I thought I’d seen the last of those ‘kind’ of cuddles more than a year ago.