Top 10 Benefits of Delayed Bathing for Newborns

The Warm Hug Bath Swaddle™ was developed because parents told us bath times are slippery with a sudsy baby, and baby gets cold.  It makes sense that keeping the baby warm and easy to grip makes for a happier bath for all involved. 

The breaking news is additional science regarding temperature regulation, delayed bathing and a greater response to breastfeeding.

Before you head into the hospital, consider asking your hospital for both a delayed bath and a swaddle immersion bath.

How long should we delay a newborn bath?

A delayed bath is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for at least 8 hours, but you may want to request a delay of 12 or more hours given the breastfeeding correlation.

What is the correlation between delayed bath and breastfeeding?

A new study by Cleveland Clinics indicates delayed bath of 12 or more hours has proven long-term breastfeeding and nursing success.

Who is it right for?

Most newborns. Those with HIV are bathed immediately.

What are the other benefits of delayed bathing?

1. Reduced risk of infection: your baby is born with vernix which is nature’s version of anti-bacterial protection. Natural protection against infection, especially in a hospital is a gift.

2. Bathing causes crying, and release of stress hormones: which is why we invented the Warm Hug Bath Swaddle More on that, later. The problem with bathing too soon is a drop in blood sugar because they no longer have the placenta as a sugar source. This makes your baby too tired to nurse, just when she needs it most.

3. Delayed bath helps with temperature control: Hospital room is 70 degrees. Inside birth mom is 98.6 degrees. Delaying a bath gives them time to adjust.

4. Skin to skin contact for improved bonding: There are long-term health benefits to skin to skin contact for your baby beyond breastfeeding. As a parent myself, those first few minutes of life are an amazing time for you to snuggle, attempt nursing, be with your loved ones, giggle in awe. Forget the bath.

5. Real new baby smell: No drying lotions required. The vernix is nature’s moisturizer, too. Amazing.

6. Everyone will wear gloves: Unbathed babies require glove-wearing. Perfect.

7. Breastfeeding success rates improve: The sooner you breastfeed, the better, as the baby remembers the sucking motion done in the womb. The new study also suggests the smell of amniotic fluid and breast is similar, making it easier to latch. Plus, they’re more ready to do so, because they have maintained body warmth.

8. A 2019 study with over 1000 moms, and the World Health Organization recommend it. And, new parents will never regret that they had the longest snuggle possible.

9. Delay is ok: There are a lot of things you can choose to delay so that you and your loved ones in the room can have more time together. You can ask that after any necessary resuscitation, to delay footprints, measurements, and other routine care until after you’ve attempted breastfeeding, you and your loved ones have held the baby, and you are ready to rest. Delay bath for 12 to 48 hours.

10. You get to enjoy bathing your baby. May we suggest bringing your own Warm Hug Bath Swaddle to the hospital? Or, using your receiving blanket? The same benefits you enjoy by delaying bath can be enjoyed with a loving swaddle bath. It’s as easy as loosely swaddle open in the front, dip into the warm bath, and bathe in sections. More details here.


Temperature regulation is a key component of the Warm Hug Bath Swaddle, and we are excited to see that hospitals are updating newborn bath guidelines.


Complete Results of the Study can be Found In:

Journal for Obstetrics, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing

Swaddle Bathing

The International Childbirth Education Association Position Paper on Delayed Bathing

World Health Organization Guidelines


Further Research Done by Cleveland Clinic

Added April 13, 2020:

What is Vernix Caseosa? An in-depth guide to vernix caseosa by Mom Loves Best: 

Sarah is a birth mom, adoptive mom, wife, working mom and optimist. She is the founder of Hummingbird Infant and shares this so parents understand the latest in newborn bathing. Sign up for our free confidence-boosting How To Give Your Baby A Stress-Free Bath and we will be sure to email it immediately.