One of the questions I ask my parents to be while doing the birth plan is, do you want to bathe your baby sooner or leave the vernix on and bathe later? Babies are born covered in a slimy, milky protective substance called vernix . This substance is made up of skin oil and dead skin that your baby sheds in the womb. It acts as a protective waterproof barrier that keeps your baby from becoming dehydrated. Vernix develops around week 27 of pregnancy and is there until birth . Preterm babies tend to have more vernix on them then full term babies. As your due date nears the amount of vernix decreases.
Vernix has tons of great healing properties such as:
Helps to regulate baby’s body temperature
Skin cleaner and wound healer.
Carries tons of anti bacterial properties and antioxidants .
This magical substance needs time to be fully absorbed into the skin . Many people wait 24 hours before giving their babies their first bath. Right after birth babies are the most awake they will be in the first 2 weeks of their life. This time is called the magic hour and its a great time to establishing bonding by doing skin to skin with your baby. I read something somewhere that said babies thrive the best post birth when they are returned to their natural habitat which is to their mother. You are familiar as they knows your energy, smell,voice and your heart beat all this helps them feel safe as they transition into this world .skin-to-skin contact also helps: stabilize baby’s body temperature and heart rate. Normalizes baby’s breathing patterns and lowers the levels of stress hormones . The baby is exposed to natural bacteria from the mother, which helps prevent her from getting sick and baby will be more likely to latch on right away, feed longer and more easily. If the mother is unavailable, your partners chest is the next best place for your baby to be. Giving a bath to your babe too early will disrupt the bonding process. When you are ready to bathe your baby I always suggest bringing your own toxic free products to the hospital and having the nurse walk you through doing it yourself. ( that way you will learn how to do as well as use the bathing process as a time to connect and further bond with your baby. I love the Honest company’s fragrance free body wash https://www.honest.com/bath-and-body/shampoo-and-body-wash it’s gentle and safe for a newborn baby’s sensitive skin. The skin is one of the largest organs, what your put on your baby skin gets absorbed and goes right into their blood stream. Anything from Honest company line called pure and fragrance free has my stamp of approval ! https://www.honest.com/bundles/family-essentials-bundle?variant_ids=2047&variant_ids=2045&variant_ids=2046&variant_ids=1490&variant_ids=1321 ( you can order in bundle in link above)
Years ago I took a RIE teacher training. it is a method of parenting where you use bath time , eating and changing to bond and connect with your baby. In RIE you do things like explain what you are doing and look into their eyes. There is a lot more to it, for more check out the site https://www.rie.org/educaring/ries-basic-principles/ . By putting down your phone, unplugging from the world and being present with your child during bath time or nightly transitions is a great mindful way to connect with your little one. I believe its not the amount of time you spend with your child but the quality of time you spend with your child that has a lasting impression.