Delaying Your Newborn’s First Bath: “Wait for Eight”

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In the past mother’s have given birth and within a relatively short period of time the baby is whisked away for a bath. Recent research, however, support the idea of waiting at least eight hours after birth to give your baby their first bath.

Why Delay Your Newborn’s First Bath?

Firstly it’s critical developing successful breastfeeding from the beginning. But researchers have found additional benefits to delaying the bath.

 Temperature stability

  • During the first few hours after delivery, your baby’s temperature can be unstable. Having your baby skin-to-skin helps regulate their body temperature and reduce baby’s stress response to being too cold or too hot.

Blood sugar stability

    • When babies are stressed or cold, their bodies metabolize glucose much more rapidly in order to get warmer. It is important to maintain consistent blood sugar levels since low blood sugar can potentially cause serious health problems in newborns.

Natural layer of skin protection

  • Babies are born with a waxy, cheesy substance called “vernix” on their skin, which has immune properties and provides a layer of protection.

For more information about your baby’s first bath, talk to your transition nurse at the hospital or your OB/GYN before you give birth. You can also find addition resources about caring for a newborn online at Renown’s Children’s Services. If you have any questions about bath time in general, be sure to discuss with your pediatrician.

Contributed by Megan Jacklin, RN, Transition Nurse, Labor & Delivery, Renown Children’s Hospital

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