I tell my clients they can decline the bathing of the baby in the hospital. Studies are coming out teaching us about the benefits of the vernix (cheesy stuff on their skin). Vernix has shown to be a protective barrier against infection and bacteria. It also is the best "skin cream" for skin that is just transitioning to dry land. It has also shown to help prevent diaper rash. All my clients who requested no bathing in the hospital have had no problems having this request respected. Immediately after the birth they will dry the baby, but that is all they really need. When they poop, that can just be spot cleaned. When their umbilical stump falls off in about a week, then they can be bathed in a little baby tub. In addition to the medical reasons, when babies are bathed, their temperature drops and they need to be rewarmed under the "french fry lamps." Newborns are transitioning to regulating their own body temperature for the first time. It can take up to 45 minutes or longer under the baby heater to return to normal. That translates to more time in the nursery away from you!
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