When your sweet new little baby was put on your chest you may not have been expecting a white cheesy substance called vernix on your baby’s skin. While all babies produce vernix the amount that you see at birth may vary on far along you were at delivery. Vernix has some amazing jobs in utero and out so don’t wash it off!
Vernix production starts at about 20 weeks of pregnancy but really begins to coat the baby around 27 weeks. For this reason baby’s born before 27 weeks usually have very scant vernix on their body. One of jobs of vernix is to keep the baby’s skin from being permeated with the amniotic fluid.
Vernix also helps maintain and regulate body temperature while in the womb and out. Babies who’s vernix has been washed or rubbed off have a harder time regulating their body temperature.
Many of the components found in vernix are similar to that of breast milk. As some vernix washes off in the amniotic fluid and is swallowed by the baby it may help prepare the gut for processing certain proteins.
Vernix is highly microbial! It is part of “seeding” your baby’s immune system. As your baby practice breathes in the womb it helps seed the gut and lungs with good bacteria. Vernix also protects the baby from other bad bacteria (both in the womb and out) like e. coli, GBS, candida and staph to name a few.
Vernix production decreases around 40 week so baby’s born after this point may have less on their overall body but usually will still find some in their creases.
Don’t wash off this amazing stuff! Rub it in for all it’s benefits!