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5 Reasons To Delay Baby’s First Bath

Is there anything sweeter than a brand new baby!? So small, so snuggly and that baby smell. Ahh. However, it might be worth delaying baby‘s first bath after they are born for a little longer than you might think. Read my 5 reason’s to delay baby’s first bath, then check out why we love California Baby bath products for our newborn’s bathtime. California baby gifted me the following products in exchange for my honest review. 

5 Reasons To Delay Baby’s First Bath

5 reasons to delay baby's first bath


We chose to delay baby‘s first bath for about a day and a half. According to the research I did, most recommend that you delay baby‘s first bath 24-48 hours, with a minimum of six hours between delivery and the first bath. Although this has not always been standard practice, it is becoming more and more common and here’s why. 

Delay Baby's First Bath

1. Preserves The Vernix

Vernix is a protective layer on your baby’s skin. It appears as a white, cheese-like substance. This coating develops on the baby’s skin while in the womb. Traces of the substance may appear on the baby‘s skin after birth. The amount can depend on how far along into the pregnancy you are when the baby is born and how they are delivered; vaginally or via c-section. 

Studies have shown that delayed bathing and leaving vernix on the baby’s skin could lead to decreases in hypoglycemia, weight loss, and jaundice along with better temperature stability in newborns. The newborn skin goes through some dramatic changes in the first few days after birth. In particular, there is a decrease in PH and surface hydration. If vernix is left in place the skin stays more hydrated and has less cracking and peeling.  The high water count in vernix is moisturizing to the skin; better than the best moisturizing products in stores. Finally, vernix helps with both wound healing and skin cleansing.

2. More Successful Breastfeeding

Several studies have shown that delaying baby’s first bath can increase baby’s success rates in breastfeeding. One study found that by simply delaying the bath alone (from 2 hours to a minimum of 15 hours), the infant’s chances of successful breastfeeding were increased by 166%! It is recommended that mom and baby have a minimum of one hour of skin to skin time after birth. This allows time for mom and baby to bond and initiates the act of breastfeeding. 

3. Parental Involvement

My top priority after our little one is here is to spend as much time bonding as possible. The average hospital stay for a typical, low risk, vaginal birth is 24 hours. My husband and I ended up having an unexpected c-section and had to spend a bit more time in the hospital. We spent as much time as we could snuggling and loving on our baby

If we would have allowed the hospital to bath the baby right away, that would have takes away time from us bonding, practicing breastfeeding and doing skin to skin time. We wanted to be as involved as possible with the aftercare of our son. By choosing to delay baby‘s first bath, we were able to enjoy this precious milestone as a family of three in the privacy and relaxed environment of our own home. 

Delay Baby's First Bath

4. Handled With Care

In many hospitals, it is a policy for staff to handle all unbathed babies with gloves on their hands, so as to protect staff from coming into contact with any amniotic fluid, blood, or vernix that remain on your newborn. What a great way to prevent any extra transfer of germs between hospital staff and baby. A small, but added benefit in my mind.

5. Reduce Stress

Finally, it would seem reasonable to believe that birth is a very stressful time for both parents and the baby alike. There is so much going on and so many changes for this new life. We wanted to delay baby‘s first bath to try to reduce some of the stress put on him. For that reason, we made an effort to keep the room dimly lit, the noises to a minimum, and decided on having no visitors at the hospital. All to create as relaxing an environment as possible. This included delaying baby‘s first bath until after we got settled in at home. 

How To Choose The Right Bath Products For a Newborn

Let me just start with a disclaimer that I am not an expert, just a concerned mom. Our precious little one was in the protection of my womb for 9 months. Since his skin was exposed to nothing but amniotic fluid as he grew and developed. It is important to me to limit what he is exposed to now that he is here. I want to limit the number of ingredients, chemicals, and scents that are applied to his body and sensitive newborn skin.

Delay Baby's First Bath

Skin Deep

I use the Skin Deep website to look up products, ingredients and safer alternatives for my family. You may not know this, but the American government doesn’t require health studies or pre-market testing of the chemicals in personal care products, even though just about everyone is exposed to them! Skin Deep puts the power of information in consumers’ hands.

Skin Deep uses a rating scale to give products a rating between 1 and 10. 1 being the lowest score possible and 10 being the highest. You can search by brand/company, product or ingredient. You can also search by category (such as baby soap) or by age group (babies and children, teens, etc).

Keep in mind that children are not little adults. Pound for pound, kids are exposed to more contaminants in air, water, food, and personal care products than adults. Immature organ systems are often less capable of fending off chemical assaults. Even more, subtle damage to developing bodies may lead to disease later in life.

Not all products/companies are listed on the Skin Deep website, but many products are. For me, it is an immediate red flag if a well-known company is not on the site. Consequently, it leads me to believe that there is a reason they do not want to have their true numbers know. However, this is just my personal thoughts.

California Baby

With all of this information, we chose California Baby for our son’s bath products and diapering needs. California baby offers a whole line of products including bath and hair products, diapering products, creams and lotions, a line for eczema and bug and sun protection. They offer over 80 pediatrician and dermatologist-recommended hair and skin care products for babies, kids, and adults with sensitive skin. Along with that, their products vary in size from samples to standard bottles to bulk-sized and gift sets!

Delay Baby's First Bath

Why California Baby

We chose California baby for a few reasons. California baby has been exceeding industry standards for over 20 years, making only the safest plant-based products. They pride themselves on being “obsessed” with purity and sustainability in every part of the process, from ingredient selection to manufacturing to packaging and beyond. When something doesn’t meet their strict standards, they take it apart, analyze it, and find a better way to do it. Even if that means growing the ingredients themselves!

We loved our experience with the California baby products and delaying baby’s first bath. I like that they make a line specifically for sensitive skin, which is what we used to be precautious as I have sensitive skin myself. Check out their website to see all the various scents and concerns to find the best product for your family!

Marisela Zuniga

Sunday 25th of August 2019

I didn't know all of this, thank you for sharing

Peggy Nunn

Monday 19th of August 2019

I had not thought so much about a bath. I just delayed it because I did not think I should. I guess it was an old wife's tale instilled in me.

Linda Manns Linneman

Thursday 15th of August 2019

This is all new to me. Great information. Thank you so much for sharing these products also God Bless

Dana Rodriguez

Wednesday 14th of August 2019

I had no idea! This is a really interesting post!

Mia E.

Saturday 10th of August 2019

I did not know any of this but it sure does make sense.