When Is The Ideal Time For Your Newborn To Have Their Very First Bath?
It’s true, when babies first come out into the world, they are a bit gooey – there’s a lot of fluids involved in the birth process. Back in the day, hospital staff would wash baby right away before handing baby over to mom. Happily this is changing – and for good reason.
5 Reason You Should Wait to Bath Baby!
- BONDING – when babies emerge there is a huge instinct to connect. That settling-in-time deepens the bond and helps you to fall in love with your baby. Anything that separates you from baby simply won’t feel good, right or natural.
- EXTRA PROTECTION FROM INFECTION – when babies are born they are covered in vernix; a waxy fatty substance that both moisturizes their skin and protects them from harm bacteria. Learn more about the benefits of vernix here.
- IMPROVED BODY TEMPERATURE CONTROL – newborns have to regulate their own body temperature for the first time in their existence. Moving from water inside you, to the air and back into water in a bath, and then air again, can make it even more difficult for your baby to manage these changes in temperature. The solution is simple. Your chest is the best place for baby because your body temperature will adjust up or down depending on your baby’s needs. It’s a super cool built-in feature which allows your body to help your baby adjust to life on the outside.
- STABLE BLOOD SUGAR – in utero you supplied baby with constant nourishment. As newborns, babies must now balance their own blood sugar levels. Anything that shocks their system or puts them into the sympathetic nervous system response (better known at the fight or flight response) can make them burn through their blood sugar. As the sugar levels in their blood lowers the result is sleepier, less responsive newborns who are less interested in breastfeeding. A bath right after birth can be shocking to their system. Newborn adjust to being outside of your body much much more successfully when they are on your chest.
- BREASTFEEDING – there are important reflexes at play when newborns are placed directly on your chest after birth. These reflexes help your baby to find the nipple and begin nursing within the first 30 min to one hour after birth. Studies have revealed that breastfeeding goes much more successfully when moms and babies are allowed to have uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact. The warmth of your skin, the sound of your voice, all help baby feel right at home.
So when is a good time for that first bath?
AT LEAST 24 HOURS AFTER BIRTH
By this time, baby’s body has had a chance to adjust and breastfeeding is already established. Both of you have had a opportunity to recover from the birth process. Even in a wonderful birth, you’ll both be tired! It’s a very physical process and you’ll both need time and sleep to feel refreshed. You’ll have already deepened that connection that you felt with your baby at birth.
Importantly at this point, when the bath happens you’ll be able to fully participate in it! Bathing your baby can be a wonderful experience when it’s done with care and gently. Your care providers, nurses or midwives, will walk you through the process. It’s also a great opportunity to get comfortable with bathing your baby, and to learn more tips from your care providers. (Care providers should wear gloves to protect baby from common viruses and infections from being transmitted).
Want to see the most incredible newborn bath ever? Seriously I wish every baby’s first experience with bathing was this loving and gentle. Check it out here. It’s so relaxing that just watching this bath will make you feel good.