Delaying Baby's First Bath May Bring Benefits
THURSDAY, Jan. 24, 2019 -- If you want breastfeeding to go smoothly, you might want to ask the hospital to delay that first bath for your newborn, new research suggests.
For decades, it's been standard procedure to give newborns a bath within the first few hours after birth, but the new finding suggests that waiting 12 or more hours before doing so may promote breastfeeding.
The study included nearly 1,000 mother-newborn pairs. Just under half of the newborns had their first bath shortly after birth, while that bath was delayed for just over half of the newborns.
Rates of exclusive breastfeeding during their hospital stay were 59.8 percent for newborns in the typical bath group and 68.2 percent in the delayed bath group, the researchers found.
Newborns in the delayed-bath group were also more likely to have a hospital discharge feeding plan that was exclusively, or at least included, breast milk.
A number of factors may explain why delaying a newborn's first bath may improve breastfeeding rates, said study leader Heather DiCioccio. She's a nursing professional development specialist in the mother/baby unit at Cleveland Clinic's Hillcrest Hospital.
Delaying the first bath provides more initial skin-to-skin time between mother and baby, and preserves smell, which is important because the similarity in smell between the amniotic fluid and the breast may encourage babies to latch, the study authors said.
The investigators also found that newborns in the delayed-bath group were more likely to have stable/normalized temperatures after their first bath.
"They weren't as cold as the babies who were bathed sooner after birth, so they may not have been as tired trying to nurse," DiCioccio explained in a clinic news release.
"It is now our policy to delay the bath at least 12 hours, unless the mom refuses to wait. In that case, we ask for two hours," she said.
The Cleveland Clinic is taking steps to implement delayed newborn bathing in all of its hospitals, and DiCioccio hopes that with further research, this will eventually occur nationwide.
The study was published Jan. 21 in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, and then continuing breastfeeding while introducing foods until a child is 12 months old.
© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Posted: January 2019
Read this next
TUESDAY, Nov. 24, 2020 -- Small, powerful magnets in toys like Buckyballs building sets and jewelry kits are causing an alarming number of serious pediatric injuries in...
FRIDAY, Nov. 20, 2020 -- The number of women who contemplate suicide or self-harm during or after pregnancy may be on the rise, a large, new study suggests. Among nearly...
THURSDAY, Nov. 19, 2020 -- Pregnant women with COVID-19 have little risk of developing severe symptoms, as do their newborns, a new study finds. In fact, 95% of these women have...
More News Resources
- FDA Medwatch Drug Alerts
- Daily MedNews
- News for Health Professionals
- New Drug Approvals
- New Drug Applications
- Drug Shortages
- Clinical Trial Results
- Generic Drug Approvals
- Monthly Update Archive
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of Drugs.com in your inbox.