After all efforts, you would think a nice relaxing bath. But nothing is less true. Our midwife, Hanne, explains the advantages of not giving a newborn a bath right away.
The skin of a new-born baby has a naturally protective layer at birth called vernix caseosa. Babies born a little premature are often still coated with this vernix, which looks like a white, greasy and sticky sebum layer. A baby that is already a little past its due date has usually lost some of its vernix. Often we see some more flakes in the amniotic fluid.
The vernix is very healthy, protective and nutritious for a new-born baby. It protects against infections, among other things. For these reasons, we let this protective layer soak into the skin as long as possible. What we, as a midwife, sometimes do is wash their hair. Some parents like a picture of their new-born on the birth announcement card so it's nice if baby's hair is looking fresh and clean.
The next morning. the new-born baby will have its first proper bath. New parents will be given plenty of information about bathing their child. Infants who had a lot of sebum on their skin at birth may retain it for a few days, especially in the skin folds.