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The Benefits of Waiting to Wash Your Baby After Delivery

It may seem like bathing a baby right after birth, often within the first two hours, has been the thing to do for as long as any of us can remember. Evolving interest in understanding that babies are covered in vernix for a reason has given us a better understanding of its benefits. It appears as a white, cheese-like substance. This coating develops on the baby’s skin while in the womb and may appear on the skin after birth.

Studies show that the vernix adds a protective layer to the skin, which makes it softer and protects the immune system. Additionally, vernix and amniotic fluid contain antimicrobial peptides which can guard against bacteria and fungi. 
There may be benefits to delaying the first bath. Also, the benefits of the vernix caseosa aren’t limited to pregnancy: This coating also benefits your baby during and after the delivery. Regardless of how little or how much of the substance remains on your baby’s skin after birth, consider keeping the vernix caseosa on your newborn’s skin for as long as possible. This means delaying the first bath.

Benefits of this natural protectant include the following:

It has antimicrobial properties.

Newborns have a fragile immune system, which means they’re more susceptible to illnesses. Breast-feeding helps boost a baby’s immune system, but this isn’t the only option. The vernix caseosa can also protect a newborn from infections after birth. This is because the coating contains antioxidants, as well as anti-infection and anti-inflammatory properties.

Lubrication through the birth canal.

The vernix caseosa doesn’t only provide a protective barrier for fluids in the womb. It can also reduce friction as your baby passes through the birth canal during delivery.

Helps regulate a baby’s body temperature.

During pregnancy, your body plays a vital role in regulating your baby’s body temperature. It takes time for a baby to regulate its own body temperature after birth. This is why it’s important to wrap a baby in blankets and maintain a comfortable room temperature. Keeping the vernix caseosa on the baby’s skin for as long as possible may naturally stabilize their body temperature.

Moisturizes your baby’s skin.

The vernix caseosa also contributes to softer, smoother skin at birth and after delivery. This cheese-like substance is a natural moisturizer for babies, protecting their skin from dryness and cracking.
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