Dec 232012

“Hospital policy requires us to bathe the baby immediately when there is meconium in utero.” – L&D nurse to parents, when explaining why the bath needed to occur now and not wait, as is normally done, until the baby is bathed on the postpartum unit.

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  26 Responses to ““Hospital Policy Requires Us To Bathe The Baby Immediately…””

  1. Are you saying your policy supersedes my parenting rights?

  2. Stupid policy, then. my son got put on my bare chest, poop and all and I didn’t care one bit about the poop.

    • Me too! My daughter didn’t poo in utero, but she started as soon as she was brought out and put onto my chest. The nurses were very concerned with wiping off her and me (but did so respectfully) but I didn’t care at all!

  3. Am I missing the issue? I understand that parents’ choice should be taken into consideration, but why is it a problem that the policy is to get meconium off a newborn ASAP?

    • Some parents prefer to leave the baby’s natural protective coating (vernex) on the baby for the first few days of life. The most obvious gunk can be wiped off and then the vernex is rubbed into the skin instead of washed away with water and soaps that can dry out the skin.

      • Thank you! That makes sense.

        • Also, meconium is sterile, as it comes from the sterile uterine environment/sterile intestinal tract of the baby. It’s not like usual poop. It might irritate the baby’s skin, though, so I would try to wipe it off. I feel very strongly about wiping/cleaning my own baby off, too. It’s extremely important to me. I did not allow the hospital to bathe my baby when I had my hospital birth, even though he had basically no lanugo. Bonding moments are not for nurses.

  4. “I am not an employee of the hospital. Leave the baby alone.”

  5. Meconium is not sterile.

  6. The wishes of the parents should be respected. That said, I gave my (homeborn) son a bath on his second day of life because of meconium. He had a bit of terminal mec (and a lot of vernix) and a bit of it mixed in his hair. The next morning he smelled kind of funky, so I bathed him. :-) We called him “Stinky” for a while because of that.

  7. Regardless of whether meconium is sterile, it’s still a great medium for environmental bacteria to live. Since hospitals are basically giant petri dishes, I can see why they’d have a policy of removing meconium. (Of course, this begs the question whether they really have a policy of immediately bathing only for meconium… or if that was just a convenient excuse for ignoring Mom’s wishes in this case.)

    Just one more reason to avoid hospitals if you don’t need them, IMO…

  8. whether or not its policy or meconium is sterile, i think the issue is why cant it wait an hour? seriously how long are you in l and d? i dont think i was there longer than 3 hours after my baby was born, had light mec in the waters he wasnt bathed till day 2, my last client had very discoloured waters (was recorded as medium though, id hate to see dark) he was bathed that night born at 10 am, mothers choice normally he would have been bathed the next day. given that, surely the time it takes for mum to get sorted out and taken down to the ward where she can bath her baby herself isnt going to cause the baby to self destruct due to a bit of meconium? honestly the logic of these people! its lacking

    • I agree with Cristie and mam Wrency. 20 minutes for bonding time and then let mom bathe her own baby. Don’t be grabbing baby out of mom’s arms and throwing around a word like “immediately” that has no offical measurement. How about before mother and baby leave the delivery room. There are some real risks to taking a baby coverd in meconium out into a hospital hallway.

  9. I think its hilarious you are all ready to burn this poor nurse at the stake for abiding by hospital policy. Nurses have been fired for less than breaking policy, she was just following her department policy. Be mad at the person who wrote the policy not her!

    • The nurse has to abide by hospital policy. The parents are not employees of the hospital and therefore do not have to abide by hospital policy. If the parents decline, then the nurse has abided by hospital policy in offering, but then also has abided by a higher-up overall hospital policy in obtaining informed consent and then abiding by it.

      The L&D unit’s policy of bathing the baby does not trump the Patient’s Bill Of Rights or the overall hospital policy (and legal right) of informed consent.

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