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Don't Bathe Your Baby Right Away

April 08, 2018


Don't Bathe Your Baby Right Away

Like most parents, I was convinced that my baby was absolutely beautiful, even straight out of the womb. A quick look at some old photo's however suggested I may have been looking through love goggles.

Newborn babies are not actually as appealing as you think - all covered in white goo, fluid, blood and meconium.

But...that doesn't mean you should bathe them straight away and get them all clean for their first pics. In fact, the World Health Organisation recommends delaying their first bath for at least 24 hours after birth. 

Here are 6 reasons why.

 

1. Promotes Natural Resistance To Infection

Babies are born covered with Vernix, a waxy white coating that covers their skin and protects them from various life-threatening infections like pneumonia and meningitis.

 

2. Improves Mum-Bub Bonding

The first few minutes after your baby’s birth are crucial and Doctors encourage skin-to-skin contact between the baby and mother to promote bonding. Replacing this process with bathing instead can be upsetting for the child when what they need more than anything is the warmth of their mother to soothe and comfort them.

 

3. Prevents Immediate Temperature Change

For 9 months, a baby live in a temperature controlled environment of 37 degrees Celcius. When born, the temperature difference between the two worlds can vary varies by 12 degrees. You might the air-conditioned room, but your baby probably doesn't so don't then stick them in a bath!

 

4. Stabilises Baby’s Blood Sugar Levels

Your baby needs time and energy to adjust to the temperature and conditions of their new world. If they get a bath too soon and they stress, they release stress hormones which means they lose blood sugar and low sugar levels make them too sleepy to breastfeed, which is really necessary for the initial few moments after birth.

 

5. Makes Breastfeeding Easier

Another reason why mothers are asked to snuggle their babies soon after birth is because it helps them latch on their mother’s breast. The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding within 30 minutes of delivery. Did you know that in the womb, babies actually practice suckling and swallowing? If nursing is delayed, they may forget how to suckle and it won’t come to them naturally.

 

6. Allows Parents To Learn Bathing Their Baby

Delaying a bath also lets parents give their baby its first bath at home, which is a wonderful experience. Not only does it help strengthen the bond between the parents and the infant through touch, it also helps them learn how to give a bath in a calm stress-free environment because there is noting more stressful than a slippery newborn in your hands.

So wait for a day or two before giving your baby their first bath. Let them get used to the world.

And you.