Jane was taken by surprise when she saw her baby Max covered in a sticky, and cheese-like coating as soon as he was born. The hospital staff cleaned off the white coating before the baby was handed over to the mother for a warm cuddle.
What Is The Sticky Substance On My Baby’s Skin
Vernix is formed on your baby’s skin at around 27 weeks when they are still in the womb. It protects your baby’s skin from the amniotic fluid. There are vast benefits of having this protective layer when your newborn baby enters the world.
Why Is Vernix Important
Vernix is composed of 80% water—the rest of the components include proteins, amino acids, antibacterial and antimicrobial components that benefit the baby and the mother as well. Here are a few things for which you should be thankful to this natural moisturizer.
Acts As Lubricant During Birth
The process of birth is stressful for a baby as well as the mother. If it is a vaginal birth, the vernix acts as a natural lubricant. It eases the process of birth by reducing the friction when
Fights Against Germs
Vernix is made up of components that protect the baby from bacteria when they are in the womb and also during birth. While moving through the vagina, this protective layer acts as a defense against the harmful bacteria, virus or fungi in the birth canal.2
Helps In Temperature Control At Birth
As the saying goes, “The outside world is cold and harsh.” The same applies to your baby after birth. Vernix acts as a natural insulator for your baby—reducing evaporation and heat loss from their body.
Protects The Skin
Your baby’s skin is soft and delicate. The white coating of Vernix prevents loss of fluids and electrolytes from their skin and also protects the skin against the amniotic fluid, helping it grow. It also maintains the natural pH of the baby’s skin.
Forget baby lotions and creams—vernix is a
The meconium or the first waste material that the baby passes could become dangerous for their health if the baby is still in the womb. Vernix forms a barrier between the baby’s skin and the meconium.
Prevents Infection In The Mother
Vernix not only protects the baby but also prevents the mother from vaginal infection during birth. This magic substance also promotes healing of perineal wounds that the mother may suffer during normal delivery.3
Why Do Nurses Wash It Off After Birth
Your baby might not look as appealing with the vernix coating spread all over their body. Also, washing it off has been common practice for a while, due to a belief that it causes infection—on the contrary, it possesses anti-infective properties.
Usually, the nurses wipe it clean immediately or after
The World Health Organization recommends leaving the vernix as it is on the baby’s skin after birth.
Soon after delivery, the vernix gets absorbed in the skin. Massage it gently on your baby’s skin when you are cuddling or nursing them. You can give your baby their first bath after 24 hours.