or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › bathing babies? how to approach the subject in hosp.?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

bathing babies? how to approach the subject in hosp.?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
with my son, a nurse came in and said, "ok we're going to bathe him now" and took him from me, and ran warm running water over him, holding him with one arm in the large sink in the room. he screamed the whole time and she said, "oh no dear that's normal, all babies are scared of this," and kept on doing it, scrubbing all the creamy stuff off of him (which i didn't find out about until later that it shouldn't even come off the baby's skin). he ended up with an aversion to bathing and would freak out anywhere near water for 2 years. i don't think it's a coincidence.

with my next baby, i'd like to be the one bathing the child, and not under a sink like that, but just with a warm washcloth and wipe their eyes, etc, and massage the vernix into their skin.

how do i tell the hospital to keep their hands off my child without sounding like a bitch (or a mother bear)?
post #2 of 25
Why worry about sounding like a bitch? I'm serious! This is your baby and you call the shots. If you choose you can be nicer about it (than I would be ), and could say something like, "I would like to bath my baby myself. Will you please give me a washcloth and a basin of warm water so that I can go it in bed?"

I am very possesive of my babies though and no one was allowed to bath them except me for months after each of their births...
post #3 of 25
i would discuss this with the staff as soon as you get to the hospital. i know that they used to leave vernix on babies because it is so good for their skin. in this day and age most hospitals have a policy that all babes must be bathed to remove the vernix, i guess for fear of disease transmission.

i bathed both of my children, but i am a nicu nurse and did it the way i would bathe any newborn, plus, most RNs won't agrue with another RN. i would just let them know what you want to do, and then stand your ground. talk to your ob or midwife and ped about it too. that way others have it documented as well.
post #4 of 25
Just ask you never know, they might not even care. The hospital where I had ds and dd, had a special insert for the sink to use in your room.

You'd be surprised what they might care or not care about.
post #5 of 25
I would try to manage a pleasant tone about it, but FIRM. First of all, they are wrong, wrong, wrong, to scrub the vernix off. Second, they are wrong to remove the baby from the mother in a non-emergency situation. Third, the baby belongs to YOU, not the nurse. You have every right to simply say, NO, thank you.
post #6 of 25
My baby didn't have a bath until she was 3 days old and I gave in because she was starting to get stinky. But *I* did the bath, on my terms, at my pace, with love. she was a hosptial VBAC and I had her room in with me (meaning, she was actually admitted to my room, had all physicals with me in our room, and didn't spend a single second in the nursery - new hospital "secret policy" they don't advertise). Anyway, I refused her bath, told them we would do it later. Had they pursued it, I would have said "I SAID NO BATH" and if they dared try "its hospital policy" I'd have said "I SAID NO BATH, THANK YOU. Please give her back right now". They told me she couldnt' have her hearing test before leaving until she was bathed, so we said "oh well" and guess who had her mandated hearing test all nasty... I don't mean she was covered with blood or anything, they wiped her off and handed her to us in the blanket. But they didn't rub off the vernix. She still had vernix behind and in her ears for about a month.
post #7 of 25
Why worry about sounding like a bitch? I'm serious!

If advocating for your babe means that you're a bitch, then you might as well work on being an effen bitch while you're at it. I know my night nurse couldn't stand me when dd was born because I kept her in my bed with me even though I'd had a c-section [Nurse-"What if she needs to have her diaper changed?" Me="Isn't that your job while I have a catheter on? I'll be happy to buzz you."]. I insisted on never being separated [Nurse-"I'm not used to mothers insisting on staying with the babies." Me-"How sad for those babies. Maybe you should encourage more mothers to stay with their babies...because mine is definitely happier, don't you think?"] If you don't want that baby bathed, just say NO. And when they give you guff, ask to see their policy [during a different hospital stay with dd--Nurse-"You're not allowed to sleep in a bed with the baby." Me-"I'll be sleeping in that bed right there. My children are not caged. Is there something you want me to sign saying I won't sue you?" (there was)] Most hospital employees have been trained to follow policy. It's a business like any other. I don't blame them. They're obviously intelligent having gotten through school. I think people just become blinded by "the way things are done" and lost sight of how things can be done instead. If you insist, they'll back down. I've never had something not happen that I didn't want to have happen, and I've rarely had to make a great big noisy fuss. I simply repeat myself calmly and let them know I'm happy to sign waivers. Another example--dd is about to have a very invasive procedure done to her (long story, kidney issues, 'nuff said). I requested sedation prior to the procedure (not unconscious, just nice and high, thankyouverymuch), the urologist said sure! the pediatrician said sure! the insurance said sure! (in 24 hours, no less!) the hospital said, "we won't be doing that." I remarked that I'd just bring her in already sedated then, and boy, a couple of calls amongst themselves later, we have sedation for dd. All this to say, STICK TO YOUR GUNS!
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
you guys are awesome! thanks for all the support and advice.
post #9 of 25
thats always been a touchy subject for me, as an educator when student teaching (at a hospital based healthy start class) I suggested to clients bathing as a choice but the RN teachingthe class was like, absolutely not, hospital policy blah blah blah, but then I later had a homebirth client who transferred, had a cesarean and (successfully) requested her baby not be bathed(an even harder request I wouldassume because of possible blood on the babe) which is really when the baby should NOT be bathed because they base whether or not the baby can stay wioth the mom on how well the baby is able to stay warm <rolleyes> well if they bathe the babe thenthey have to put the babe in a warmer (their opinion, not mine)
oh Im rambling, anyways
I think it is my right to have people keep their hands off my babe, and I would respectfully and lovingly ask them to do so as much as I tho9ught was neccessary for my babe's best interest,
One time when one of my kids was 3-4 mos old she was in th e hospital for a urinary infection(long story) asnyways, some student nurse came in and started picking her uip and undressing her, Im like...what are you doing, oh Im bathing her, standard procedure blah blah blah, I simply requested that she tell her superior that I formally requested that she not do that and unless the doctor discusses it with me or orders it that I wish to decline it,
post #10 of 25
Simply state clearly and firmly, "I do not want my baby to be given a bath," and stand your ground. If that simple statement doesn't do the trick, feel free to switch into full-blown bitch mode! There are times when it's called for.
post #11 of 25
I am feeling pretty ignorant on this issue...??? Why is the not bathing so important?
post #12 of 25
It lowers the baby's body temperature. It removes the vernix, which protects the baby's skin. It necessitates removing the baby from the mother's arms. Harsh chemicals are often used which irritate the baby's skin. The baby doesn't like it! - they generally scream the whole time. Others can probably think of other reasons...

I watched a video of a hospital newborn bath once, and the nurse was scrubbing every inch of the poor kid's skin raw. She was doing it *really* hard. It looked like she was using a vegetable brush or something. The baby was screaming -- it was awful.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
watched a video of a hospital newborn bath once, and the nurse was scrubbing every inch of the poor kid's skin raw. She was doing it *really* hard. It looked like she was using a vegetable brush or something. The baby was screaming -- it was awful.
that's EXACTLY what happened to my son!! and that's why i don't want to risk it happening again!!
post #14 of 25
Also, studies have shown that babes don't nurse as well if they have been bathed prior to their initial nursing.

At the birth center we never bathe the baby (even if the parents wantus to) until the babe has nursed. Even if the mom has hepatitis or something, we just use universal precautions until the babe has nursed (if that is what mom wants to do) and bathe the baby later.

Just put in your birth plan that you will be bathing the baby. But remind them, because lots of times, since it is routine to do it, they will forget.

post #15 of 25
I wrote "no bath" in my birth plan. Just stated it like dh and I wanted to give the first bath at home.

Of course, the nurse "insisted" and I just blandly said "No, we aren't going to bathe him right now. We'll take care of it when we get home."

She sputtered and stuttered and looked everywhere but at me, and it finally came out that the reason they "insist" on a bath is, like someone said, the disease transfer issue. She finally said (and was so serious and concerned about it--made me laugh inside to hear her!) "But if you don't let us bathe him, we'll have to put a note on his chart, and any nurses or doctors that touch him will have to wear gloves!"

And I just looked at her, like, "And the problem would be....??" But I just calmly said "oh, well that's fine then! Do you want me to tape a note on our door or something?"

No one said anything else about it, except that one nurse made a big show of putting on gloves every time she came in. :rollseyes:

I'm thankful that we are having a homebirth this time, but if we have to transfer or something, I won't hesitate to do the same thing again. How irritating that her main concern was that the poor nurses would have to take 2 seconds to put on gloves before touching my baby! It kinda makes me chuckle though, because there were a couple nurses (and the ped) who never used gloves, in spite of the notation on the chart! Clearly, the oh-so-important hospital policy didn't faze them much!
post #16 of 25
They just can't get over the fact that the baby has come through a woman's vagina, which is considered dirty and disgusting.

(Edited to add: It's fine with me if they don't want to touch my baby. I don't want them to touch my baby, either! Forget the gloves, just don't touch my baby!)
post #17 of 25

I did not bathe my babe either. I rubbed the vernix in. He did not have his first full body wash down for at least a week - and that was only with water.

I think that you have gotten a lot of good suggestions. However, I also think it is important to have advocates with you. A strong family member or doula would help make sure that your wishes were respected.

post #18 of 25
Well, you get more bees with honey than vinegar, so that's always how I START out. Also, don't be afraid to escalate up the chain of command, but again, with honey. Such as, "Well if you can't help me/okay this, who can?" And lastly, bitch mode. You are the boss, they are hired by you. Don't forget it.

Ds had his first bath after a few hours, I think it was the hanging over the sink type of deal with a cloth and sponge b/c it wasn't where/when it was supposed to be (not really sure, but he want to NICU briefly, then we moved to post-partum and they acted like he should have been bathed already...but they were nice). I was in bed but Dh helped and it wasn't all that traumatic (from my hazy memory). So, that's another option, have daddy help if for some reason you cannot.
post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 
thank you everyone.
post #20 of 25


So that's where his dread of bathing and of getting his head under water comes from!!!

I don't know if I will be able to keep the next one away from their tubs & scrub brushes. I live in a country where doctors are gods, nurses take their orders, and patients are supposed to be, well, patient.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Birth and Beyond
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › bathing babies? how to approach the subject in hosp.?