The Newborn Bath

by PinkNBlue PinkNBlue, BSN, RN Member

Specializes in Obstetrics. Has 10 years experience.

I think majority of us know by now that delaying the initial bath is evidence-based and is best for the newborn. We wait 12 hours and a lot of the times, if the bath falls on night shift, the parents don’t want it until the next day. This leaves day shift with a significant amount of baths to be done. Our nursery nurse divides them amongst the primary couplet nurses, the techs and the nursery RN. But it’s definitely caused some animosity between the shifts because day shift feels like night shift is dumping the baths on them when, in reality, the parents don’t want the bath done at 2am. If you delay the bath, what is your workflow? ?



Specializes in Labor and Delivery. Has 1 years experience. 411 Posts

This is an issue at our work place too (ie dayshift feeling baths are dumped on them). However, our techs are pretty good about checking back with patients around 0600 if they had refused a middle of the night bath to get it done before shift change. Babies are taken from the room at some point during the night anyways for weight, so sometimes we can get the baths clustered into that time. But sometimes, the parents still just want it during the day when they are fully awake to witness the first bath. And if that’s the case, then we respect their wishes! And I think dayshift ultimately knows it isn’t dumped on them on purpose, but they still don’t like it.

PinkNBlue, BSN, RN

Specializes in Obstetrics. Has 10 years experience. 419 Posts

Thank you for your reply! Our techs do vitals and blood draws from 5-7am so that probably wouldn’t work. And we don’t do baths anywhere but the mom’s bedside (even if she isn’t interested in watching, which I’ve yet to come across honestly). We used to do them in the nursery at night, especially if they were a multip but no longer do this as most everything is done at mom’s bedside.

There are days where day shift has 15 baths to do and they’re very unhappy. It’s challenging because it’s best for the patient to 1) wait until they’re ready to learn (and 2am is not an ideal time to learn, honestly) and 2) we look at it as a task vs the patient, who looks at it more as an experience. It’s so tricky. Thanks again. I’m glad to know it’s not just us who experience this challenge. ?


Kldrn9963, MSN

Specializes in nicu management. Has 18 years experience. 16 Posts

We wait 6 hrs. We do baths anytime of the day. Most parents are fine with bathing the baby if the are already awake.