There are certain routines that hospitals follow when you have your baby. Do you know about these immediate procedures, and how they will impact your new baby? It is your right to find out and know what will be going on. Once you know why certain procedures might be done, you will be able to decide if there are any changes or requests you want to make. One thing you should think about is delaying baby’s first bath. There is actually no medical reason that your newborn baby needs a bath within hours of birth.
Natural Skin Protection
When the baby is in the womb, the skin is protected by a coating of vernix. This is a creamy white substance that protects the baby’s skin from the watery environment. At birth, babies will have some of this coating still on their skin. This is the way nature intended to keep the skin soft and supple after birth. Ongoing research also indicates that vernix contains immune properties to help defend the body from infection.
Babies Want to Stay Close
On instinct, babies want skin to skin contact with the mother’s warmth while staying as close as possible to their food source. Mommy is really the most capable one to handle her baby, and being told otherwise is nonsense. A calm and secure baby equals a calm and rested mother. If your baby is removed for longer periods of time, which is often the case quite unnecessarily, you lose that unforgettable first intimacy with your baby. Moreover, why delay those very beneficial first feedings?
Finding the Right Temperature
One of the struggles for your new baby is to balance body temperature. A bath often leads to temperature imbalance. Did you know that a mother’s chest will actually adjust accordingly to keep her baby at just the right temperature? An immediate bath is just adding more stress to an already difficult first few hours in the open air.
When a baby is upset its body begins to release stress hormones. The baby will experience a faster heart rate, higher blood pressure, and will breathe more quickly. All of this can actually cause a drop in blood sugar levels. Because of this, your baby may be fed formula without your knowledge. Staying snuggly on the mother’s chest as much as possible means the baby will not be unnecessarily agitated. Do not hesitate to ask about delaying the first bath just for the sake of not interfering with the hospital routine. When mother and father feel ready, they can give the first bath themselves. This way, it can be a wonderful and relaxing experience for everyone.