The latest research published in The Journal of Obstetric, Gynaecological and Neonatal Nursery has found delaying a healthy newborns first bath by at least 12 hours increases the chances of a mother successfully breastfeeding during her hospital stay.
The World Health Organisation already advises delaying a baby’s first bath for 24 hours.
The study in the journal involved 996 women and their healthy babies. 448 washed their newborns within 12 hours, while 548 delayed their babies bath.
Comparing the two groups, researchers found exclusive breastfeeding rates were higher in the group that delayed.
One possible reason could be that delaying the bath could translate into more uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact between mum and baby meaning a calmer baby who is more available to breastfeed.
Another possibility is that newborns rely on a familiar scent to guide them to the breast, which could be disrupted during a bath.
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