Babies are born covered in a thick, white, cheese-like substance called vernix caseosa. In the hospital it is typical for babies to be bathed immediately to remove the vernix. However, an immediate postnatal bath may not be the best option for a baby and should be reconsidered.
Vernix Caseosa has many benefits. Produced during the third trimester, vernix acts as a protective barrier for the baby in utero, and aids in lubrication during the birth process. This waxy, waterproof substance has great postnatal benefits too. Vernix Caseosa has antibacterial effects, deterring common pathogens such as group B. Streptococcus, K. pneumoniae, L. monocytogenes, C. albicans, and E. coli. Vernix Caseosa also aids in regulating the baby’s body temperature.
It is recommended that a newborn’s bath be delayed for 24-hours. Vernix Caseosa is there to keep your baby healthy. Perhaps hospital staff should let it do its job.