PARENTS

No-Bathe Birthing Trend Sees Mothers Not Washing Their Newborns For Days

31/12/2015 13:36 GMT | Updated 31/12/2015 13:59 GMT

Many new parents are choosing to delay their baby's first bath - sometimes waiting a few days after the birth before washing their baby.

The no-bathe birth trend has seen an increasing number of mothers and father leave the waxy coating on their newborn's skin for hours or even days after birth, according to Netmums.

Lots of parents choose to do so to prolong the intoxicating 'newborn smell', but it also has the benefit of allowing the newborn to remain in contact with the vernix - that white waxy coating covering their skin - for longer.

vernix

The waxy coating covering your newborn's skin is a natural moisturiser

The vernix is a protective substance that coats the baby's body while in the womb. The NHS advises it should always be left to absorb into the newborn's skin, as it is a natural moisturiser, which protects against infection.

However, if you've been looking forward to giving your baby their first bath, this doesn't mean you necessarily have to wait for days.

The World Health Organisation recommends babies are not bathed in the first six hours of their life, but after that time washing with water is not going to do your baby any harm.

Dr Webberley, GP for Oxford Online Pharmacy, told HuffPost UK Parents:

"The waxy vernix is marvellous at protecting the unborn baby as it grows, over a nine month period, in what is effectively a bath of water in the womb.

"Once the baby is born, it is natural instinct for mum to wash the baby and make him or her clean, warm, cosy and ready to face the world. This is an important element of bonding between mother and baby - and also between the baby and dad and other family members.

"Sweaty, blood-stained mum doesn't mind a waxy, blood-stained baby - but dad and big sister might.

"There is no medical reason not to bath the baby. As long as the bath is nice and warm and the baby doesn't cool down when being dried and dressed, then there is no harm done."

"Equally, there doesn't have to be a mad rush to clean the baby and bonding and breast-feeding are more important."

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The NHS advises only using water to bathe your baby for at least the first month. Do not use skin lotions, wipes or add cleansers to your baby's bath water.

If your baby was born prematurely, his skin may be even more delicate, so speak to staff in the neonatal unit for advise on how best to care for his skin.

Babies born after their due date may have dry and cracked skin at first, because the protective vernix was absorbed in the womb, rather than after birth. However, it's important you resist the urge to use any creams or lotions on your baby's skin, as this may do more harm than good. Rest assured, the top layer of your baby's skin will peel off to reveal smooth skin over the next few days.

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