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  Newborn Vernix
My baby’s skin had this strange white covering on it at birth. The nurses said it is a coating that the skin will absorb, but when my grandmother saw it she was horrified. She says it’s unhygienic to leave it on, and I should give the baby a good wash. I am pretty confused by now!

The white coating on a baby’s skin at birth is called vernix, and is a waterproof coating that protects the baby’s skin from the liquid in the uterus. The reason why overdue babies often have wrinkly skin, like a person who has been too long in the bath, is because the vernix has stopped being produced, and so the skin is in contact with the amniotic fluid!

In your grandmother’s day the vernix would have been briskly removed. But like many of these practices, thinking has changed over the years, and it is now considered very beneficial for the baby’s skin to let the vernix be reabsorbed. The fat content in the vernix can help keep the skin from getting dry, on this first exposure to air! It is definitely not unhygienic, and you will have to find a careful way to tell your grandmother – that is the way things are done now!

See also:

Newborn - Appearance

Newborn - Bloodshot eyes

Newborn - Circumcision

Newborn - Colour of eyes

Newborn - Confusing day and night

Newborn - Early outings with baby

Newborn - Going home from hospital

Newborn - Handling

Newborn - Jaundice

Newborn - Cradle Cap

Newborn - Heat Rash

Newborn - Red Rash On Upper Body

Newborn - Spots

Newborn - Reflexes

Newborn - Sticky eyes

Newborn - Swaddling

Newborn - Timing of feeds
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