Delayed Bathing is Better for Baby

Research has shown that delaying a newborn’s first bath has many benefits for both baby and mom.

In the 2017 year, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) will implement delayed bathing for more than 7,000 babies (based on average annual deliveries). To celebrate this important decision, PVHMC will provide special beanies to all babies receiving a delayed bath!

Why Delay Baby’s First Bath?

Babies are born covered in amniotic fluid and a white, waxy substance known as vernix, both of which offer protection against bacterial infections. Vernix is also a natural moisturizer that keeps your newborn’s skin hydrated – no lotion needed!

The longer that baby’s first bath is delayed and the longer the amniotic fluid and vernix is left on baby’s skin, the better.

At many hospitals, standard practice is for babies to be bathed within one to four hours after birth. At PVHMC, babies are not bathed for at least 24 hours – and requests from parents to further delay the first bath are always honored.

“Mother-baby bonding time is especially important to PVHMC’s birthing philosophy,” says Susan Miller, RN, Women's & Children’s Center nurse manager. “Delayed bathing is critical in allowing immediate skin-to-skin bonding, early initiation of breastfeeding and improved health for baby."

Delayed bathing is part of PVHMC’s commitment as a Baby-Friendly USA birthing facility. Baby-Friendly hospitals are recognized for offering breastfeeding mothers information, confidence and the skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies.

Since babies are not immediately bathed, mothers have a better opportunity to initiate breastfeeding within one hour of baby’s birth.

Bathing after at least 24 hours helps baby:

  • Snuggle with mom sooner and longer (skin-to-skin)
  • Stay warm
  • Improve bonding with mom
  • Breastfeed sooner
  • Stabilize blood sugar
  • Regulate body temperature
  • Maintain normal vital signs
  • Best of all, delayed bathing lets mom and dad participate in giving baby the first bath! After at least 24 hours, mom and dad are encouraged to join our nurses in a learning experience to bath their baby.

To learn more about PVHMC’s Maternity Services, please visit: www.pvhmc.org/#About_WCC_Services.

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