After the birth, usually the baby is kind of messy. While bringing baby into the world is neither easy or clean work, a lot of the 'messy' stuff remaining on the baby is quite useful for the early moments in life and bonding. Typically once baby is delivered, and placed on mama's chest, a gentle wipe down or towel off is sufficient for a while.
Aside from a beautiful beginning to breast feeding, bathing too soon may lower the infants temperature. Even when warm water is used, studies have show. The temperature can decrease up to 3 degrees. Infants are not fully able to regulate their own temperature until about 72 hours of life.
Delaying or refusing a bath in hospital also requires all people who come into contact with the infant to wear gloves. This not only protects the nursing staff, but also your little one. Using gloves means you don't have to worry about hand washing between visits with other infants. It's a great way to keep germs to a minimum.
So, whether you delay that first bath for a few hours, or even days, there are certainly benefits to be had.
I am a DONA Certified birth Doula. Serving the greater Kansas City metro area. I am also Rebozo and Dad Certified and a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. My heart's passion is to be able to work within the birthing community to serve expecting women through the childbearing experience.