When babies are born, they come out covered in a white, waxy substance that covers their whole little body. This is the vernix that protects your baby inside and out of the womb. This waxy substance has so many beneficial health components, and should be rubbed in not washed off!
Vernix starts to form on your baby around 20 weeks gestation. The list of benefits are incredible, so here is a short list for you!
-Inside the womb, it helps to protect your baby's skin from being waterlogged while they are growing in the amniotic fluid. Incredible, right?
-It protects baby when they are coming down and out the birth canal from any harmful bacteria that may be present such as E. coli, Group B Strep, Staph, Candida, and so much more.
-While protecting your baby from harmful bacteria, it also helps absorb the healthy bacteria your baby needs to make the transition from womb to world. Scientists have identified lipids, amino acids, proteins, antibacterial, and antimicrobial compounds, all key components for a newborn baby.
-Vernix also protects your baby from meconium exposure, especially while still in the womb. -It provides a protective layer to facilitate skin growth, and helps baby maintain their body temperature. Hospitals are cold for us, so they are super cold for newborns!
-It's your baby's natural moisturizer! It keeps baby's skin soft and supple.
-Vernix contains proteins that help develop baby's gut, preparing breastfeeding.
-The smell of vernix is what gives your baby that "newborn scent" and it is intoxicating. This smell gets that oxytocin flowing, which helps with lactation support!
-Decreases chances of mom developing a bacterial infection/fungus post delivery.
So if there are so many health benefits, why is it so common that providers and nurses wipe the vernix off right away? The answer is simply for aesthetic reasons! Many nurses wipe it away so that way you can see your baby's face without all the waxy white goo that is all over them. Some old school nurses were even taught that it was a biohazard issue, therefore they told new parents it was medically necessary to remove it as soon as possible. This isnt true! Your body grew a baby, but also developed all these things to keep your baby safe before being born, so take full advantage of all your hard work!
When is the best time to give your new baby their first bath? The choice is up to you! Most of the health benefits are soaked into baby's skin within the first 24 hours. So even just waiting one day can benefit you and your baby so much! Some parents choose to wait longer, some choose to not wait at all. How long did you wait until you gave your baby's first bath?