What is Vernix?
Ok, so maybe you already know that vernix is the white, cheesy substance found coating the skin of newborn babies.
But, did you know it's actually beneficial to baby?
Vernix: 5 Reasons NOT to Wash It Off
1. Baby, It's Cold Outside! Vernix helps to regulate your baby's body temperature. By leaving the vernix on your baby and getting baby skin-to-skin as soon as possible, baby won't have to work as hard maintaining its own body temperature. That's a good thing!
2. Gut Health! Vernix is believed to be a contributing factor to the gut microbiota of newborn babies. In utero, babies swallow bits of vernix with the amniotic fluid, then as they pass through the birth canal, the vernix acts as lubrication, further populating the baby's microbiome. Read more about gut health in babies here.
3. Smooth as a Baby's Bottom! Your little dumpling just spent 9 months in a nice warm bath and in utero, verix helped to protect baby's skin from the water. After the birth, vernix will help protect baby's skin by acting as a moisturizer to help ease the transition from water to dry land.
4. Bacteria Beware! Vernix packs a two-fold punch against illness- it creates a physical barrier that protects against bacterial invasion and it contains antimicrobial peptides that help fight against bacterial infection. That's a win-win for baby!
5. That New Baby Smell! Many hypothesize that vernix contains pheromones that encourage bonding between the caregiver and the infant. Turns out there might be some science behind that new baby smell after all!
So, what can you do?
To make sure baby gets all the benefits vernix has to offer, the WHO recommends immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with mother for the first hour and to delay bathing baby for at least 24 hours.
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