Is there any reason to bathe newborn in hospital? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 30 Old 04-22-2009, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm very strongly considering refusing the newborn bath in the hospital. It just seems like it would be unpleasant for a tiny newborn.

Is there any reason that I *should* let them bathe the baby? I'm sure there are reasons to NOT let them bathe the baby.
If not in the hospital, how soon after should the baby be bathed?

It's a pretty family friendly hospital, and I'm using m/w that, so far, seem to be open to anything the mother wants. They also say that in the case of normal labor/delivery, many moms go home 4-6 hours after the birth (so chances are, we wouldn't be in the hospital for too long, unless something goes wrong).

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#2 of 30 Old 04-22-2009, 01:50 PM
 
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Generally, the staff isn't allowed to touch the unbathed baby w/o gloves. And for us at least, the photographer wouldn't do the pictures till he was bathed. If those things don't bother you, then no I don't think so. We refused the bath and only rinsed his hair a little before the pictures on day 3.

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#3 of 30 Old 04-22-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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What she said. Your baby is covered in vagina so biohazard precautions will be used until he is washed.
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#4 of 30 Old 04-22-2009, 02:53 PM
 
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Pretty much what everyone else said. Most parents I've come across insist it be done and soon. Working in NICU, that is often one of the first things they ask..."When do you bathe the baby?" (answer...not until your baby is stable enough)

In NICU it's not even high up on our priority list. Babies often go days (or longer) without a bath and when they do we just use some sterile water and cotton balls. The only time that a bath might be important is if the mom has a known bloodborne pathogen like Hepatitis. But even then we have to wear gloves when handling ANY unbathed baby.

But that's NICU. If you have a healthy term baby, you still don't need them to be bathed right away. And sometimes it even takes a few baths to get all the "stuff" off of them. It's vernix, it's not dirt, it's not going to hurt them if it's on there for a little bit. Harsh scrubbing with soap to forcefully remove it will likely be uncomfortable though.
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#5 of 30 Old 04-22-2009, 03:26 PM
 
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Agreed. There is really no reason to do it, other than the nurses don't want to "glove up" to touch the baby. I didn't want the nurses touching my baby anyway, plus I think some thought we bathed, because they didn't use gloves. But the one nurse could NOT understand why I didn't want to give my baby a bath. Looked at me like I had two heads, was trying to suggest she find different soaps in case that was what I was opposed to. They just can't understand why people don't do things the "prescribed way". Can you tell I had a horrible post-partum stay and am totally bitter?
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#6 of 30 Old 04-22-2009, 03:32 PM
 
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At many hospitals they'll let you do the bathing yourself there if you request it, that way you know it's done gently and lovingly. Babies only need to be cleaned every few days or when they're messy, the stuff on them from birth might well count as messy. My son passed mec on the way out so he certainly needed a cleanup a few hours after birth. Also, with a warm room, warm water, and going straight back to skin-to-skin when done there's no need for a warmer after.
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#7 of 30 Old 04-22-2009, 07:55 PM
 
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I was pretty nervous because I didn't trust the hospital much (home birth transfer, so I wasn't there on purpose either!) I think my biggest concern was that after the bath she would be cold, they'd notice a slight temperature drop, and insist on taking her to the nursery and putting her under a warmer. After a couple days, during which she had a couple low temp readings and the nurses managed to not freak out (I just put her skin to skin) I trusted them enough to allow a nurse to wash just her hair *in my room*. She had a lot of hair and there was chunks of blood in it and it was kinda gross, so I did kinda want her clean!

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#8 of 30 Old 04-22-2009, 08:27 PM
 
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My babies needed a bath after birth. They were messy, and it wasn't just in utero mess on them. They had feces on them and blood.

In the hospital I'd deliver in this time if I decide against the birth center, they do the baths in room. You have the option of doing it yourself if you want to.

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#9 of 30 Old 04-22-2009, 08:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nashvillemidwife View Post
Your baby is covered in vagina
:

I always say that babies only need a bath 2-3 times a week because they're not doing anything to get dirty, unless of course s/he has a blow-out diaper.

I do enjoy washing baby hair, cuz if you do it gently they really relax and enjoy it. I imagine that being cradled snugly and upside down like that feels similar to being in the womb again.
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#10 of 30 Old 04-22-2009, 08:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by macha10 View Post
But the one nurse could NOT understand why I didn't want to give my baby a bath. Looked at me like I had two heads... They just can't understand why people don't do things the "prescribed way".
I had this experience, too, except the nurse was my mother! I had DD with midwives in a birthing centre so she wasn't bathed before we went home (the same day she was born) and at home, my mother wanted to strip hew down and bathe her and I refused. I mean, a newborn can barely handle having their diaper off, hate being naked, why do it? I washed her hair in the sink the day after she was born, but it was a few days before we bathed her. I argued that she wasn't 'dirty' and vernix is good for babies' skin. Being a nurse (who thought I should have had an episiotomy and suggested so to the midwife ) my mother didn't get it. The first of many arguments about my parenting choices...:

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#11 of 30 Old 04-22-2009, 09:33 PM
 
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oh, I loved not having to bathe my dc after birth....
I know this isn't your question per se, but it's so nice.....if you can swing it and there is no merc....
Neither of my babes were bathed for the first month. Still sweet....
even now, at 7 and 3 they only get bathed once a week (unless they are covered in something like today).
We have flouridated and chlorinated water so I don't want to expose them to that stuff any more than I have to.....ok, OT
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#12 of 30 Old 04-23-2009, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Still sweet....
even now, at 7 and 3 they only get bathed once a week (unless they are covered in something like today).
That's pretty much how often ds is bathed as well. He's 4, and it works well for us. Maybe that's why I'm not too big on having the baby born.
I hadn't thought about the baby being covered in meconium though. Good point! I think it's good to be aware of these things before I get a concrete plan stuck in my head

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#13 of 30 Old 04-24-2009, 07:29 AM
 
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Personally, I find mec comes off better with a moist terry cloth (or a natural oil + cloth) than in a bath.
Here in New Zealand, almost no baby is bathed in the hospital before going home. In fact, I have yet to see it (in 4 years of attending births as a student). Why would you mess with the natural protection of the skin (vernix), risk cooling the baby and interrupt its bonding/skin-to-skin time with mama?
When dd was born at home we didn't bathe her for a really long time, although I did wipe the dried blood off her head on day 3

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#14 of 30 Old 04-24-2009, 09:16 AM
 
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Personally, I find mec comes off better with a moist terry cloth (or a natural oil + cloth) than in a bath.
Here in New Zealand, almost no baby is bathed in the hospital before going home. In fact, I have yet to see it (in 4 years of attending births as a student). Why would you mess with the natural protection of the skin (vernix), risk cooling the baby and interrupt its bonding/skin-to-skin time with mama?
When dd was born at home we didn't bathe her for a really long time, although I did wipe the dried blood off her head on day 3
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#15 of 30 Old 04-26-2009, 09:04 AM
 
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My babies aren't bathed for a while after birth and they aren't treated like a biohazard (but I am in the uk). I like to have a bath at some point after birth when I am ready but I just like baby to chill a while.
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#16 of 30 Old 04-26-2009, 09:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nashvillemidwife View Post
What she said. Your baby is covered in vagina so biohazard precautions will be used until he is washed.

laughup :

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#17 of 30 Old 04-26-2009, 04:08 PM
 
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Both ds's had a homebirth and we waited 3 days to do a bath. I did use a wet washcloth on ds2's hair because he had 'vagina' caught in his hair.
Vernix is good for the skin, so I try to keep in on for a few days.

I also wouldn't do a bath until bfing has been tried.

I told my friend who I was a doula for that she could refuse a bath, I think she said no bath until day 3 (she had a c/s and was in hosp for a week)

Be advised that hospitals use Johnson and Johnson soaps and shampoo, so bring your own if you don't want that used on your child.

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#18 of 30 Old 04-26-2009, 04:16 PM
 
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I've had 2 hospital births. With my second, I just kept putting them off about the bath, "Oh, let's do it later." That worked; 24 hours later (the minimum here) I went home and bathed him the next day. I wasn't about to watch him naked and screaming like DD was when she was hospital bathed.

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#19 of 30 Old 04-26-2009, 06:06 PM
 
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I declined it. They weren't getting him out of my arms and I was in no shape to do it.
Besides, they wanted to keep him under a heat lamp for four hours if they bathed him. Yeah. Formula and no mommy, *just* what that infant needs... :
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#20 of 30 Old 04-26-2009, 08:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by durafemina View Post
Personally, I find mec comes off better with a moist terry cloth (or a natural oil + cloth) than in a bath.
Here in New Zealand, almost no baby is bathed in the hospital before going home. In fact, I have yet to see it (in 4 years of attending births as a student). Why would you mess with the natural protection of the skin (vernix), risk cooling the baby and interrupt its bonding/skin-to-skin time with mama?
When dd was born at home we didn't bathe her for a really long time, although I did wipe the dried blood off her head on day 3
I thought a wet washcloth wipe down was a bath for a newborn. They recommend no submersion until the cord comes off here.
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#21 of 30 Old 04-27-2009, 05:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by durafemina View Post
Personally, I find mec comes off better with a moist terry cloth (or a natural oil + cloth) than in a bath.
Here in New Zealand, almost no baby is bathed in the hospital before going home. In fact, I have yet to see it (in 4 years of attending births as a student). Why would you mess with the natural protection of the skin (vernix), risk cooling the baby and interrupt its bonding/skin-to-skin time with mama?
When dd was born at home we didn't bathe her for a really long time, although I did wipe the dried blood off her head on day 3
same in the UK. or at least in the hospital i was in. nobody bathed her, although she was wiped down. & after she was wiped down i dno't remember anyone gloving up to touch her.
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#22 of 30 Old 04-27-2009, 06:18 AM
 
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the studies on gbs colonization and using hibiclens to prevent infants from getting sick from GBS there was vaginal washing and after the birth the baby was bathed with a hibiclens solution - so one reason would be to alter flora to prevent infection---
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#23 of 30 Old 04-27-2009, 09:14 AM
 
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I never really thought about it, until I had my baby in a homeopathic (public) hospital (in Europe). The midwifes and nurses never took the baby from me, she went right from my belly to my arms. (except they did change her often for me because I'm a little lazy )

They didn't bath her or even sponge bath her - they did pat her after the birth so she wouldnt be so cold but she didn't get a bath for a week or two after the birth. I have pictures of her from the day after the birth and the vernix had "wore" off (for lack of a better word) and she looked like any other baby except I could see bits in her hair and in the odd nook and cranny.

The benefit...Her skin was soooooooo soft. It felt so good - she didn't need any powder or cream or soap. She looked cleaned and smelled fine. And, she never got cradle cap (unlike her sister who was bathed every day at the other hospital and had it horribly).

I'm a big advocate of not bathing them right away until their skin gets used to the outside environment.
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#24 of 30 Old 04-27-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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I don't think they bathed either of my babies in a whole full-on bath. I can't really remember what happened with DS. With DD, she went right to my arms and we had quite awhile of holding her, looking at her, nursing, my son holding her, etc. Then we did go ahead and weigh her and clean her up a bit. She had passed some mec and she was really pretty bloody. I was happy to have her cleaned up a bit with a damp cloth.
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#25 of 30 Old 04-27-2009, 01:10 PM
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When I had my son I was in the hospital for 7 days, him 6 so around day 3 for him I asked if I could bath him with a nurse.

I was recovering from and emergency C-Section and at the time I was a single mom so I was glad for some advice/pointers. At no point did they ever tell me they had to do anything, they asked my permission for everything.

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#26 of 30 Old 04-27-2009, 01:26 PM
 
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DC1-3 were bathed in the hopsital, DS1 on day 1 by a MW, DD1 the next day by me, DS2 by me DH and DS1.

DD2 was not bathed in hospital, she had a wash with a warm wet cloth on day 3, we came home day after she was born, she didnt get a full on, in the water, bath till a week and half later. will do same thing with next baby, wash with a cloth till cord comes off, then a proper bath.

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#27 of 30 Old 04-27-2009, 07:54 PM
 
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I had my son skin to skin and nursed etc. right after the birth and had requested no routine procedures to interfere with that. I birthed with pretty low key CNMs so I doubt they would have even brought it up, but an hour or two later I did want to get us cleaned up so I brought him in the bathtub with me and just had him on my chest and then rinsed him off with plain water and then put him right back skin to skin with a towel around us both. I don't know if that "counts" or if he was still "contaminated" because I didn't use soap, but no one mentioned it and there was never an occasion when a nurse needed to touch him I don't think (until he went to NICU after 2 days, but obviously it was not an issue there either) After all that I did his weight and length and put him in his diaper, so I don't think anyone really handled him at that time either..

But yeah, my son passed mec all over himself (and then all over me) lol so a bath was a good thing for us both! Maybe just play it by ear; see if you can just delay the bath if there is no mec, and take him in the tub with you if there is, rather than the whole sponge bath/baby tub/warming lamp thing?

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#28 of 30 Old 04-27-2009, 08:42 PM
 
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My son was born in the tub (in a hospital) so he got a little cleaned up right away. Then I just told the nurses that I'd rather bathe him myself, and they had no problem with it. They wore gloves to touch him, but considering how many people they touch I'd prefer them to do that anyway.

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#29 of 30 Old 04-27-2009, 08:57 PM
 
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We were not pressured to give DS a bath. DH wanted to bath DS so he and my mom bathed him about an hour or two after birth. I could not hold him anyway as I was too weak from my c-section.

If I hadn't had a c-section I would have been able to bathe him myself.

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#30 of 30 Old 04-28-2009, 10:27 AM
 
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We did a joint bath about 2 hours after the bath. I got in the tub and DH handed the baby in. It was very relaxing for both of us.

Suzan, mama to DS 9-18-07 and #2 EDD 3/4/10 GIRL!.
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