Study shows waiting to bathe newborns may have health benefits

Posted at 10:04 PM, Jun 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-20 00:04:26-04

SALT LAKE CITY — New research shows waiting to give your newborn baby their first bath may be beneficial for their health.

In a study out of Illinois, a substance called vernix was not washed off full-term babies until 14 hours after birth. Researchers said those babies and their moms benefited.

The percentage of babies with hypothermia decreased from 29 percent to 14 percent for those who waited, and hypoglycemia dropped from 21 percent to 7 percent in the first month.

“The baby made this, it’s there for a reason…The vernix provides a protective layer, it helps keep water in the baby’s skin so as far as keeping the skin hydrated it has natural immunity, helps with temperature regulation,” said Doctor Melani Harker, OB/GYN with University of Utah Healthcare.

In addition, breastfeeding rates increased from 51 to 71 percent.

“Its part of the skin to skin, its just facilitates that bonding between the mother and the child and I think overall its a beneficial practice,” said Dr. Harker.

Dr. Harker says while "wait to bathe" is becoming more popular, determining when to bathe any baby is determined by patient preference.

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