Wednesday, July 1, 2015

‘Wait for eight’ delayed bathing helps newborns thrive

Courtesy of Health News Colorado
By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon
When Amy Toner had to have a cesarean section for the birth of her first baby, she worried about the precious moments immediately after the birth.
“My biggest concern was, ‘Do I get to hold her right afterwards?’ ” Toner said. “I really looked forward to having that ‘skin-to-skin’ time and having the baby stay in the room.”
Toner’s instincts about the importance of the first minutes and hours with her newborn daughter were well founded and are buttressed by increasingly robust research.
Neonatal experts have long referred to the time right after birth as the “golden hour,’’ and researchers now are learning that keeping mother and baby together is all the more critical to fostering successful breastfeeding and cutting rates of infant hypothermia and low blood sugar. The newest strategy to do this is delaying newborn baths for at least eight hours. Keeping newborns warm on their mothers’ chests is a relatively simple practice in the hours after birth that can have profound health benefits for mothers and babies.
One of the newest areas of research centers on microbes, which boost immunities. Infants inherit their mother’s microbes at birth and begin to create their own systems. It’s not yet clear whether delaying a bath may strengthen the microbial system. But researchers believe the vernix, the cheesy layer that coats babies at birth, has various protective benefits.
In Colorado, one of the hospitals leading the way on delayed baths is Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette. Already a “Baby Friendly Hospital” that follows guidelines set out by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, Good Samaritan started formally delaying newborn baths in January. Other hospitals in the SCL Health System are beginning to follow suit this summer.
“It makes our whole process more relaxed,” said Bekah Harvey, a charge nurse at Good Samaritan.
For the rest of the story, go to Health News Colorado.

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