Tune into this episode to explore the significant benefits of delayed bathing for newborns. 

In this recent Instagram live Trish shares insights on the importance of delayed bathing, how it can benefit both the baby and the mother, and how new mothers can make informed decisions during the postpartum period.

Trish emphasizes the importance of skin-to-skin, and how vernix, a natural protective barrier, plays crucial roles in infection prevention, temperature regulation, and supporting breastfeeding. 

She shares insights from her career and changes she has witnessed and advocated for in the practice of newborn care. 

Trish gives tips and guidance on how to communicate with healthcare providers about delayed bathing and other interventions after birth to prioritize the wellbeing of the mother-baby.

From Trish:

So why am I recommending Delaying Newborn Bathing?

Delaying Newborns' first bath is one of the critical components of protection that you can advocate for your child at birth.

Delayed Newborn Bathing Benefits

1 . Reduces the Risks of Infection/Exposure

Let's face it; most of our babies are born in a hospital. Think sick people. So to leave the vernix on our little ones and let it protect them from bacteria and fungi. Studies show that vernix has over 41 proteins in it. 29% of those have antimicrobial components, and 39% lend to immunity.

2 . Improves Body Temperature Control

A baby cannot regulate its body temperature (thermoregulation). The newborn baby loses its body heat four times faster than adults. Staying warm is critical to a newborn's well-being. Hence, we also promote immediate skin-to-skin (here are some skin tips and benefits) and eventually swaddling with a hat (after the golden hour, please and thank you!).

Did you know that immediate skin-to-skin reduces thermoregulation issues by 42%? WHAT???????

3. Stabilizes Newborn Blood Sugar Control

Low blood sugar in a newborn is a downright scary situation. It can quickly turn fatal. Guess what increases the risk of a baby's blood sugar dropping? Stress (Like crying) which releases cortisol (stress hormone), causes blood sugar to drop. Guess what makes them cry more? A bath.

Hello, guess what makes a baby less stressed? Being on top of their mom and being warm and not crying.

A study states that babies bathed before 12 hours of birth doubled their chance of improper blood sugar control.

4. Improved Breastfeeding Success

Girl, if all the reasons I have listed so far are not enough, then perk up. Delaying Baby's first bath protects them from a whole bunch of evils and increases the chance of successful breastfeeding. It's known that when skin-to-skin happens during the immediate postpartum period, the baby smells the amniotic fluid on the breasts.

The same is said for the vernix. It smells like amniotic fluid and familiarizes the baby with the breasts, and boom a good latch. It is thus promoting breastfeeding success.

The evidence for delayed newborn bathing is overwhelming. Don't ignore it. You are your little one's first advocate. If your birthplace is not on board, print out the studies I have referenced and fight for change.

As always, education brings power! Stay educated, don't let someone else tell you it's policy!


00:53 Introduction to Delayed Bathing: Why It Matters

01:51 The Evolution of Newborn Bathing Practices

05:07 The Science and Benefits of Delayed Bathing

06:37 Practical Tips for Delayed Bathing and Vernix Preservation

06:59 Addressing Common Concerns and Questions

12:27 Advocating for Your Baby's Care: Delayed Weighing and Measurements

14:32 Empowering Parents: Making Informed Decisions

16:17 Closing Thoughts and Resources for Expectant Parents

More from this episode:

I have covered immediate skin to skin, breastfeeding and delayed cord clamping, in my blog which also protects the baby from the start. If you haven't read up on those aspects of birth, read them now!

Also listen to the episode: Unlocking the Power of Skin-to-Skin: The Magic of the Golden Hour


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For more pregnancy & birth education, subscribe to The Birth Experience on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Next Steps with LNM:

If you are ready to invest in your pregnancy & postpartum journey, you are in the right place. I would love to take your hand and support you in your virtual labor room!

If you are ready to dive into a birth class and have your best and most powerful birth story, then Calm Labor Confident Birth or The VBAC Lab is your next step.

If you have a scheduled cesarean, take our Belly Birth Masterclass and own that experience.

If you are a newly pregnant mama or just had the babe, you want to join our private pregnancy and postpartum membership, Calm Mama Society.

Remember, my advice is not medical advice. Always discuss what you learn with your team. See my Disclaimer here! Also, We make a small commission from some of the links (you don’t pay any more for using our links); however some of the recommendations, we do not earn anything; we love ’em and want you to know about them.


[00:00:00] My name is Trish Ware, and I am obsessed with all things pregnancy and birth and helping you to navigate with the practical and the magical seasons of this journey called motherhood. I'm an all day coffee sipping mama of seven. I've had the amazing privilege of delivering many babies. And my 15 plus year career as a labor and delivery nurse, and as a mama of seven, I'm here to help you take the guesswork out of childbirth. 

So you can make the choices that are right for you and your baby. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only, and does not replace your medical advice. Check out our full disclaimer at the bottom of the screen. of the show notes. 

Hello. Hello. Hello. So we're going to be talking about delayed bathing. And if you came to Fearless [00:01:00] Birth the live version a couple of weeks ago, we did a class on the first 48 hours and the decisions that you'll be making when you first have your baby. And so I want to talk about delayed bathing because I think it's something that like either you know about, Or maybe you know a little bit about, or maybe you've heard yeah, don't wash the baby right away, but you're not even really sure why. 

I think a lot of times we say these things over and over again, but we don't really talk about the impact and the power and why it's so incredible. So you guys know that I have seven kiddos. And obviously I've been a labor and delivery nurse for a long time, over 16 years. And I have seen the bathing situation, run the gamut. So like when I first became a labor and delivery nurse, we used to wash the babies right at bedside in the delivery room. [00:02:00] Somebody give me a sticker or something. Someone it's mind boggling, right? Within the first hour, we would bathe the baby. Why? It literally makes no sense. Like, why did we do that to ourselves? 

That's more work for the labor and delivery staff too, but why were we interrupting this bond? If you guys came to the first 48 hour class, I love the name of it. First 48. It's all about what is going on with you, your body, your booty, your boobies, all that, and with the baby during the first 48 hours and a little bit beyond, which the delayed bathing we're going to talk about. 

And I've had the most incredible DMs from a lot of you guys telling me like what you guys did with your babies for bathing. So I started my career and we used to wash the baby. Right away, like in the first hour before we would send you to postpartum, like it's mind [00:03:00] boggling, right? So that was a long time ago. 

Some of you guys were children then. And then I started taking my travel assignments in California. And they were so much more advanced than Tennessee. And so I'm like, wait a minute, they're not washing the baby right away. Now we were still washing the baby sooner than is necessary, but we hadn't gotten on this train yet. 

Towards, as things started going on, we started washing the baby after four hours. Then it was like after six hours. Then it was at 24. So now, the norm is 24. Now when I first moved to Tennessee, you guys, in 2018, they were still washing the baby. And like mom would deliver, we would keep mom and baby together for the first hour and a half. 

And then they would take the baby to the nursery and do a bath. And I was like, what is happening? This is like 1960. Not okay. What we are really about during that first [00:04:00] time is that you need to be doing skin to skin with your baby. And we're getting ready to let Fix the first 48 hours because it's such a powerful class and Everyone who came to fearless birth and a lot of my students are like that was my favorite class I'm like really the one about baby and postpartum It's so freaking important and I want to empower you guys that the most important thing that's happening During your immediate postpartum is that connection with you? 

Everything baby needs is right there with you And you're going to acclimate the baby. The things we're worried about with baby, like the heart rate and their temperature and their blood sugar, everything is controlled by you by being on top of you, skin to skin. So when we're talking about skin to skinning, yes, it is possible after C section, 100%. 

And you should advocate for that. Talk to your provider. Part of the reason why this is so important is that [00:05:00] every one of the baby's senses, and if you watch my free workshop, we should have it up and running by Monday. Don't hold me to it, but I'm gonna try. So if you watch the free workshop I talk about each one of the baby's senses is playing a key role and it's connected to you and that part of that is that Vernix that's on the baby, which is why we want you to delay the bathing. 

So Vernix is this protective barrier, like the best lotion is In the universe on the baby to keep the baby in this wet environment and it keep, it's like a protective barrier on the baby's skin, which is why if a baby is born preterm, they're going to have a lot more vernix than if a baby's getting closer and closer to 42 weeks or past 42 weeks, they're going to have a lot less vernix because eventually it, the need is not there anymore. 

So after birth. Afterbirth. Vernix has been compared, there have been studies that have done that have [00:06:00] compared vernix with industrial strength antimicrobial soaps and the, these, the vernix is as strong if not stronger than these antimicrobial soaps. soaps that we've developed because we are not as cool as God creating Vernix. 

So it also is temperature regulating, promotes healthy skin growth, it protects the baby from bacterias and viruses, and it's just like the superpower the baby already has on top of them as they enter this new environment in this new world. And so we do not want to get rid of it. So one of the first things I'm going to say to you is tell your nurses, Don't wipe the Vernix off. 

You can pat dry. Don't rub all the Vernix off. We want to keep our baby's Vernix. As the baby is born and put to your chest and you get the Vernix on you and you get the amniotic fluid on you, you can just rub it into baby and rub it into you. And that is Top notch. [00:07:00] Now, a lot of you guys are asking me about meconium. 

It really depends on the amount of meconium, but the meconium is still, your baby still needs to, we still want to delay the baby, the bathing. But there are some different things like with GBS positive and meconium that you want to do a little more research and talk to your provider. But Really, the baby does not need to be bathed. 

You can wipe that meconium off. GBS positive babies, again, they're gonna want to more than likely do a bath, but you can also delay the bath at least 24 hours. Now, remember, if you were treated with antibiotics, I'd push back on that a little bit. But the benefits are so incredible when you delay the bath. If you are telling your providers that you want to do delayed bathing, because I know a lot of you guys are like what if they don't listen to us? They better listen to you. They should not bathe this baby. 

If you tell them, no, this is your baby. [00:08:00] You are the boss of what's going on with this baby. So let's talk about delayed some of the benefits, the big ones. So it reduces infection. One of the biggest things one of the biggest things that, was, like, so mind boggling to me during COVID was that we need to keep that Virnix on because it acts as a barrier against even hospital acquired infections, which is a true risk. 

You're in a hospital. Hospitals are not clean places. So it reduces infection. It improves the body temperature control. This is so important because when a baby is born, and I teach this in the first 48, so if you get a chance to watch that once we post it, it's not ready yet. But in that class, we talk about some of the biggest things that we worry about with a newborn is thermoregulation, regulating their temperature. 

We're all, we all know, keep the baby wrapped, keep the hat on, Babies are [00:09:00] born with brown fat and when they yell, when they scream, when they cry, when they're scared, when they're startled, they're going to burn that brown fat. And once it's gone. So they cannot regulate their temperature the way we do. 

This is again, why it's so important. They're smack dab on top of you, skin to skin. But the other thing is the vernix. also regulates and improves the body temperature control for the baby. So it's like it's their own little blanket. It stabilizes blood sugar. Another thing that we're really worried about with babies is that their blood sugar levels stay controlled and stress and it re it increases that risk of blood sugar levels being out of control. 

And the stress from bathing Can cause that as well because the bath is stressful for the baby like they're brand new here We are and then we're gonna bathe them. So Delaying bathing stabilizes the blood sugar. [00:10:00] It also Enhances and helps with your breastfeeding success for your journey Research has shown that there is a relationship between delayed bathing and improved breastfeeding outcomes so This is this is a huge one, especially for my mommas who are planning on breastfeeding. 

If the stress of the bath, if removing their fur, their vernix is, going to affect your breastfeeding journey, why would we do that? And I've seen that some of you guys are saying that in Canada, they don't even bathe in the hospital. They seriously need to do away with it in the hospital. 

There's literally no reason. These babies are not dirty. They've come with their own little clean, self cleaning cover. And they're not dirty. So let's just not make it stressful for them. Let them be welcomed into this this environment where it's less stress for them. Some of you guys are asking me, the typical routine is at 24 hours we're going [00:11:00] to do a full bath on the baby. 

And usually what we do in the hospitals, we will wash their hair at the sink and then we wash them completely. And we don't need to do that. And as far as a sponge bath, you don't even really do that. A lot of my friends and fellow labor and delivery nurses, we don't wash our babies for a couple weeks because they really are not dirty. 

And when, you can bathe their wash, wipe down their bottom if they poop or whatever. And you can spot clean, but they do not need a full bath. I know I've gotten a lot of DMs today from a lot of you guys saying that you waited for two to three weeks, and in a lot of European countries, that's what they do, which they are way more advanced than us in some of these areas, which is funny. 

We used to be advanced back in the day, but then we got medicalized. And we got very low. We're not as advanced as we were, but you don't have to wash your baby for a couple weeks. So I know some parents are like, what? We're going to be passing the baby around. The [00:12:00] baby is clean. Now that being said, if the baby has a lot of hair and has a lot of gook, or has a lot of like junk in its hair, A lot of stuff. 

You can have a lot of stuff from birth. Then you can swaddle the baby nice and tight and just wash the baby's hair. Can we talk about delayed weighing and body measurements as well? Yes. And if you watch my first 48, I talk about this. Those things are not necessary at birth. This does not even come on. 

The main reason, I'm just going to give you the insider track. The main reason your nurses want that is so that we can put in orders, because we need the weight and length. That's not important. What's important is what's happening with you and baby. That is the most important thing. And the weight can wait. 

The length can wait. All of those things and all of the assessments that your nurse needs to do that make sure baby's okay can be done on top of you. So that is something I'm super passionate about. That's why we are going to release the first [00:13:00] 48. Our workshop all about all the things, all these decisions. 

You guys have a lot of micro and macro decisions that you're going to be making for this new baby right off the bat. And I want you to know that you have every right to say, no, you cannot take my baby off me. Like we should normalize that, that stuff needs to wait. It's not important. And in fact, The studies are showing that even a baby, normally I would say, unless the baby needs to be resuscitated, which in most cases, if the baby needs resuscitation, that trumps everything. 

But the studies are showing that it's even better for the baby to be resuscitated on top of mom. Yeah, someone said, I never gave my nurse a strict instructions, but I realized that all three of my deliveries, they grabbed the baby right away to weigh and measure. Yes, because they can't put their orders in or anything for the baby until they have that. 

And they want to get their crap done. And they're not thinking about you and a baby. And Gabby, you need to tell him, like, no. [00:14:00] It's not okay. They don't need to do that. It's really unfortunate that we ever got to where we do that. Anyway delay the bathing at least 24 hours, but honestly, I would not do the bath in the hospital. 

I would do it at home, and you are good to go for a couple weeks. So hopefully that helped you guys. Anybody else have any questions? I missed a bunch. Do we have to give the baby vitamin K at delivery? You don't have to do anything. Now, there are some states that it was state law. I don't know still if it is. 

But you need to do your due diligence and do your research and then that is your decision to make. So I don't want to see anybody hating on anybody for vaccination decisions or vitamin K or any of the things. We talk a lot about this inside of our private community. I don't really broach it here. But you are, you do your research and you make the best decision for you and your family. 

And that's what's important. What is more important than mom and baby bonding and this [00:15:00] baby acclimating to this new world the best way possible? There's a lot we don't know. This is why I do what I do, and this is why Labor Nurse Mama, our mission is changing the birth culture one birth at a time. 

This is why we make our classes so affordable. This is why we have our virtual access option, which is super affordable. It includes having access to doulas. And our labor bat signal, which we're very famous for, which is like a group text that you can create. If you're a virtual access member, plus a student, you can create your labor bat signal. 

And it's a group DM with me and the doulas where we can help you navigate this BS. So it doesn't happen to you. I don't want this to happen to my daughters. I don't want my daughters to go through this. This better be changed by then. They better not just wipe our babies. They better not just take our babies. 

They better not weigh our babies so they can get their charting done. Not okay. All right, you guys have a fantastic night and I'll post this in just a minute. So if you guys want to watch it again [00:16:00] or let your partner or your birth team watch it. All right. Have a good night. Hey mama, I am so glad that you took the time to listen to this little shorty Instagram live that I did late one evening. 

As you heard, I decided to leave in some of the Q and a, because I wanted you to hear some of those answers. Cause I thought you might be wondering the same. If you have not taken a birth class, if you are not empowered to make these decisions and advocate for yourself, I strongly suggest that you click the link in our show notes and join Calm Labor Confident Birth Course or the VBAC Lab. 

We would love to have you as always. We will have another episode next Friday. Bye for now