Delaying baby's first bath... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 12-08-2011, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone have any info on delaying baby's first bath, and how long to put it off? I read a blog a long time ago (before I was pg again, but after DS1 was born), but I can't find it again. I have searched and read some studies on delaying bathing, but I couldn't find anything that said how long to delay it to get all the benefits from the laguno (?). If you are delaying bathing your LO, how long are you waiting?

 

ETA: Vernix- not laguno!


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#2 of 10 Old 12-08-2011, 04:31 PM
 
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I've not read on the subject. But I do delay bathing I guess lol.gif. When DS was born (at home) I just didn't feel he needed to be bathed. Most of the vernix wears off in the first hour anyway and there was no way I was going to put soap on him! When DD was born I did the same thing. They probably got their first baths when the little folds of their neck started getting "gunky" with milk and lint. Even then I only use water. I have very sensitive skin and treat my babies as if they do too. I'd be curious what sort of benefits have been theorized over delaying bathing. I DO recall reading something about the scent of vernix encouraging bonding with family AND dogs. (but don't quote me of that - i read it 4 years ago) I just never understood the hospital's bathing infants so soon. Just another one of those things probably more for the "hygiene" of the hospital and staff and I doubt no benefit to the baby.

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#3 of 10 Old 12-08-2011, 05:23 PM
 
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I delay it until I feel like bothering to wash them. lol I don't bathe my kids (or self) on a daily basis anyway. We all get skin issues from too much bathing. I usually just sponge bathe the first couple months, once a week or so. Ds2 got washed at about 3 days because he had a bit of blood on him still & my mom was coming in. Ds3 was born in water, so he had a rinse as he came out. I don't think I actually washed him for a least a week, though I did clean out his neck folds


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#4 of 10 Old 12-08-2011, 05:26 PM
 
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I'm the laziest mother I know.  My kids got bathed the first time when they started getting neck gunk...that would make them weeks old.  They still go weeks without a bath.  I'm bad.


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#5 of 10 Old 12-08-2011, 05:31 PM
 
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Angela, mine go weeks without a bath too. I'm *trying* to get my 10 year old to take responsibility for deciding for himself, but I think if I didn't eventually bug him, it would be months instead of weeks.


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#6 of 10 Old 12-08-2011, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I'm late to the game of discovering the benefits of not taking a bath all the time! But, I love not having to wash my hair (and love that it doesn't look oily after not washing it just once!). I don't think it's laziness either (but then again I sometimes say I breast feed because I'm too lazy to wash bottles- which is partly true, but not the only reason!).

 

At any rate, I found this blog http://findinglucina.blogspot.com/2009/05/benefits-of-vernix.html (not the same one I remember, but it has a couple of studies. I remember reading on another forum that the smell from the vernix/amniotic fluid will help comfort the baby (which makes "scents" ;) ), and something about leaving it on the baby means that mom can tell what bacteria is on baby and that helps her make the right antibodies in her breastmilk (but it didn't say how that happens). And, then there is the whole newborns not being able to regulate their body temperature- so why would you want to bathe them right away?

 

I think you ladies have it right... the go with the flow and bathe when it seems right/natural (or funky/gunky)! All these things I wish I had known before having DS1! :)

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#7 of 10 Old 12-08-2011, 11:40 PM
 
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There's other studies that the smell from the mother's (unwashed) breasts is similar to amniotic fluid. Babies whose mother's have one washed & one unwashed breast will go for the unwashed one.  They also seem to lick their own hands when trying to find the breast right after birth.  Here's a bit from a book about the hand thing http://books.google.ca/books?id=Bdvbjhrl0DoC&pg=PA11&lpg=PA11&dq=newborn+hand+amniotic+breast&source=bl&ots=NzWEyncfCh&sig=dunuen6GCFTSOuCrX_DNqPTK9rQ&hl=en&ei=yrrhTrWQEIrXiQKZtojiDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=newborn%20hand%20amniotic%20breast&f=false

 

I don't wash them, but I've never tried letting a baby breast crawl before & I'm really wanting to this time.


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#8 of 10 Old 12-08-2011, 11:50 PM
 
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Oh this one is really interesting (not bathing related though) http://www.parentingscience.com/newborn-senses.html

 

 

Quote:
When presented with two scents--the scent of non-familiar breast milk and the scent of familiar formula milk--formula-fed newborns showed a preference for the odor of human milk (Marlier and Schaal 2005)

 

Here's a bit about the washed vs unwashed breast from http://breastcrawl.org/science.shtml

 

Quote:
This is the most studied input for the Breast Crawl and is believed to be the most important. Babies preferred their mother's unwashed breast to her washed breast, soon after birth. (Varendi et al, 1994). Besides secreting milk and colostrum, the nipple and areola are dense in glands that perhaps secrete attractive odours. Washing could have reduced or eliminated such odours. This is consistent with a previous study (Makin and Porter, 1989) where infants preferentially moved towards a gauze pad impregnated with the breast odour of a lactating woman.

 


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#9 of 10 Old 12-09-2011, 05:47 AM
 
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i'm loving this post! This stuff is all so fascinating to me.   

 

here's a blog post I found that has an actual study http://findinglucina.blogspot.com/2009/05/benefits-of-vernix.html

 

 

"Antimicrobial Properties of Amniotic Fluid and Vernix Caseosa Are Similar to Those Found in Breastmilk"

 

... "The results of this study also call into question the routine use of some newborn procedures. Early bathing of the baby removes vernix, which contains antimicrobial proteins that are active against group B streptococcus and E. coli. Delaying the bath and keeping the newborn together with his or her mother until breastfeeding is established may prevent some cases of devastating infections caused by these bacteria. The fact that preterm babies tend to have more vernix than babies born at or after 40 weeks might mean that healthy, stable preterm babies derive even greater benefit from staying with their mothers during the immediate newborn period." ...

 

check out the whole post - it's not too long and has more useful info :)


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#10 of 10 Old 12-09-2011, 07:57 AM
 
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Even though DS was born in a hospital, he wasn't bathed...They just wiped him down and wrapped him up. His face/neck and bum were kept clean, but I too waited until he got all sticky and fuzzy( visibly dirty) before I actually bathed him. No real reason why, he just didn't look/smell like he needed a bath for a few weeks. We all have really sensitive skin, so washing too frequently does more harm than good in this family 

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