Delaying Baby's First Bath Linked To Higher Breastfeeding Rates

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During the first precious hours of your baby's life are the most important for bonding with both mom and dad. Your body just did an amazing thing and it's time to relax (as much as you can) and cradle that sweet little nugget of cuteness in your arms! In all seriousness though, looking at that first twenty-four houses of your child life, there are so many beautiful and exhausting firsts that you experience together and it's important that you're able to be present for them, and not focused on other things. Like baby's first bath for instance.

A new study is sharing that after a great deal of research, they found that if the hospital delays the baby's first bath that it is directly linked to hospital inclusive breastfeeding rates to rise.

Published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursingthese findings make a lot of sense if you think about it. Whenever mom can focus and bond, that means that she's less stressed thinking about other things (ahem, that first bath) and can make breastfeeding a priority. And we all know how many people walk in and out of your hospital room after delivering, so a little more focus time goes a long way.

The study was lead by Heather Condo DiCioccio, who is a nursing professional development specialist for the Mother/Baby Unit at Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. The motivation behind the study came from her patients who kept asking to delay their baby's first bath at the hospital.

The World Health Organization does recommend that baby doesn't get its first bath during the first twenty-four hours following their birth, but they don't give much reasoning behind their advice. However, this could be the reasoning behind why moms have been asking for this.

The research looked at almost 1,000 baby and mom pairs. About half of the babies were bathed within 2 hours of birth, as per the hospital's previous policy. The rest of the pairs had the first bath delayed for at least 12 hours. A link was found between delaying a bath and exclusive breastfeeding, but they could not exactly answer why. DiCioccio thinks it may have something to do with baby's sense of smell.

It is important to highlight though that there are some babies who do need that bath right after being born whenever they are faced with things such as HIV, active herpes lesions or hepatitis B or C.

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