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declining the first bath

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
Hello Mama's,

I tried to decline the first bath after my son was born, and was unsuccessful. They told me it has "hospital policy" to give every baby a bath, and acted like I was totally nuts to even ask :

I'm due with this baby on 3/5. This time I'm going to be much more confident and assured, and I expect that will help. But what about this "hospital policy" thing? How can we get around that? I just don't see the need for the bath right after birth, and would really prefer to do it later, just US (no hospital staff needed!). Any ideas?

post #2 of 61
Have a doula present or another adult to help you.
post #3 of 61
Maybe tell them you are happy to sign any waiver they produce. It's not like all their policies are applied to all without exception. And certainly first ask to see the actual hospital policy written down somewhere official. They'll often just say that.

I'm at least delaying the bath until we've had our fill of nursing, bonding, and resting. Then, if we feel the need for one, we will give it. If they won't let us, we'll wait til we get home. But our hospital is very "baby friendly" all around so it shouldn't be a battle for us.

The vernex is good if rubbed in. Most places just want babies bathed so the staff don't need to wear gloves to handle the baby (of course meconium etc might change things).
post #4 of 61
Tell them it's FAMILY POLICY that you will give the baby the first bath when YOU are ready. They cannot do any procedure without your consent. B.S. "policy" or not.

We declined EVERYTHING except the weighing and measuring.
No bath.
No eye goop.
No hearing screen.

The nurse was pissy, but it's not HER BABY, it's MINE. Get over it.

I wasn't nasty about it, but I was firm, no-nonsense, and knew my rights.

Get your DH on board, and your caregiver if at all possible. My DH was actually the one who told them to lay off with the hearing screen. I had no preference either way, but he wanted them to just give her back already.
post #5 of 61
Good luck! I think its absurd that they are so adamant about it. Why do they care?
My DD was not bathed at the hospital, purely by accident... I never really thought to request that. And can I just say I have never smelled anythign so beautiful as her those first few days. It must be a hormonal thing. She was heavenly. I'll never allow another baby of mine to be bathed by the nurses!!!!
post #6 of 61
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone! Yeah, the bath was totally unnecessary with my son. And we wanted to allow the vernix to stay on his skin. Plus he had an extremly traumatic birth, and came out SCREAMING - I had finally settled him down, nursed him to sleep, and here come the nurses to take him away and bathe him. They woke him up and he proceeded to scream for the rest of the night. None of us got any sleep that night..... This time will be different!!!!!

post #7 of 61
I don't have too much to add - the nurse who was there when I gave birth didn't blink when we said no bath, but she did say some of the other nurses might refuse to touch dd until she had her first bath (guess I must be dirty, huh???). That didn't actually happen, though, although they did keep asking us when we wanted to do the bath, and insisted they had to be there to do it. In the end, we did it on Day 3 (last day in hospital), and it was dh and the nurse fighting it out over the baby. : Next time, if we end up in the hospital, we just won't bathe the baby 'til we go home.

Just refuse! They can't make you, hospital policy or not. I'd make sure dh was on board in case you end up "out of it" at all or aren't quite up to fighting when they try to do it.

If you don't want to do the direct route, you can just say "Ok, maybe later, not right now . . . baby is sleeping/nursing/happy etc." and then don't do it at all.

dd 8mos
post #8 of 61
I declined it initially. I thought it was ridiculous for them to take a baby not 2 hours old away from me for a full hour (to make sure he was "warm enough" after the bath). No way was I going to let that happen.

They just put a sign on the basinette that said "Needs Bathed" (ie: dirty baby, don't touch!) :
post #9 of 61
We're getting the bath done after we've had time to bond & nurse BUT I'm insisting it's done in my presence or it won't be done at all. Last time with dd they took her to the nursery and dh went with her. I told them no bottles, no glucose water, no formula etc. But now, 3 yrs later, dh tells me he *thinks* they did it anyway. GRRR! He doesn't even know for sure and if they did he didn't say a word about it to them. So nobody is taking my baby to the nursery for a bath. My lactation consultant said the nurses might give me a hard time about it but to just remind them I'm the parent, not them. And she knows they have the ability to do any newborn procedures right there in delivery or recovery rooms and if they have a problem with it to ask to talk to the supervising nurse.
post #10 of 61
If you have a midwife (or know the ob that will deliver you) you can make your wishes known to them and ask if they can advocate for you. I know that when my mom's patients want to skip the bath she will tell the staff and get them off the parent's backs! Just another person you can use to be on your side!
post #11 of 61
Ask to hold the baby before the bath and never let go again. Even better, because it's an unbathed baby no one will touch it without gloves!
post #12 of 61
Just say "Well, it's MY policy that I don't wash my babies until the vernix is absorbed into the skin, so thanks anyway." and leave it at that. (Believe it or not, I've also had to have that same discussion w/one of my MW's....)
post #13 of 61
i think the biggest reason for delaying the bath is that they cant regulate their temps yet when they are that young. and if the baby's temp is low, they MUST be on a warmer (not mama's chest) and that is more delay in bonding.

by the way, i know and you know that baby on mama's chest will be warm enough since mama's temp will rise to adjust baby's temp, but tell that to a LD nurse.

don't let them take your baby from you at all. if you must put a sign up that says, glove please, baby is unbathed, then do it.
post #14 of 61
"I do not give consent for a bath. Thank you for offering"

Repeat ad nauseum as required.
post #15 of 61
Just otta curiosity why would you decline the first bath? I'm confused
post #16 of 61
Because the creamy stuff will reabsorbed into the body anyways. We only wiped our babies faces a little and left the bath until they were more than a day or so old. When we finally did bathe them only a tiny bit of this stuff was left and it was in the really wrinkly parts.
post #17 of 61
And because we don't want to be separated, like someone said-- an hour??? Yikes, that baby is going to be so precious and so new, I'm not going to be without it at long that soon. (DH probably wouldn't mind as he could go with, which is a good option if you don't feel like fighting; I suppose if you were exhausted from the birth you might not mind, but I think having the baby near helps stimulate the horomones that help with recovery. But yeah, you might be sleeping anyway, lol).

What other newborn procedures are routine? I gotta be sure my birth plan is complete. Hmm... maybe I should do a spin off thread. I'm starting to get too lazy to call the hospital and ask, lol.
post #18 of 61
Originally Posted by ilovemy2ds View Post
Just otta curiosity why would you decline the first bath? I'm confused
Because often it involves taking the baby away for an extended time shortly after birth, then warming the baby afterwards, and the use of their anti-bacterial soap stripping them of much of their newborn yumminess (smell-wise, vernix-wise.) It's an intimate activity many parents would rather do themselves. I also rather like that the nurses will only handle your unwashed baby with gloves - because I've never seen them handwash enough for my taste, honestly, lol. That said, we (me and dh,) bathed our at-home born baby some hours after she was born since she had a head of hair all matted down with dried birth goo that I was dying to see fluffy ;D
post #19 of 61
I don't think with my first three kids a bath was even offered but my 4th, in a little hospital that nurse was adamant the baby was going to be bathed, but I just told her straight out she was nuts (yes that's what I said)

DD was taken to the nursery because she was born at 35 weeks, and was a little smaller than expected... after being in an incubator and being told that she needed the extra o2 and needed to be monitored, I insisted she be taken out and given back to me. After the nurse took her out, she goes on to say well I guess I"ll give her her bath. I was like what????? a tiny little baby that is barely holding her own and you are going to put her in a tub of water and rub her down? I said that is going to put her right back in the incubator, Are you nuts? she babbled about how the nurses couldn't touch her without gloves, I said that was fine no one needed to be touching my baby anyway I would do the touching
post #20 of 61
Sometimes I watch videos of hospital births at YouTube, and every once in a while the bath is included. The first time I saw one I was shocked, and it still makes me sick to see how the babies are handled and scrubbed. A PP mentioned that her baby didn't stop crying all night after the bath. It's no wonder. Why not bathe a baby right after a birth, you ask? A much better question (that there is no good answer for) is why bathe a baby right after birth? Aside from protecting the nurses from the mother's icky vagina germs, it has absolutely no benefit. It removes the protective vernix and the smells that are part of the chemical bonding process. It lowers the baby's body temperature. It's stupid.

To the OP, so what if it's policy? The way I see it they can stick their policy in their ear. The nerve.
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