Don’t bathe that baby yet!

mkbirthIn lots of hospitals and birthing centers, bathing newborn babies soon after delivery is still the standard practice. But is that the best practice? The World Health Organization recommends delaying bathing infants in the early hours after they are born. Of the many reasons to forgo this antiquated procedure, breastfeeding success tops the list.

Babies are born covered in a white substance called vernix that is protective and insulating, and has antibacterial properties similar to those found in breast milk. Washing the vernix off too quickly can increase the risk of hypoglycemia, hypothermia, and can interfere with early breastfeeding.

Parents have the right to request the delay of their baby’s first bath regardless of the standard practice of the birthing center or hospital. Waiting until after the first 24 hours gives mom and baby time to bond and practice breastfeeding, and has been proven to increase the likelihood of early breastfeeding success.

 

 

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