“It’s important to remember that babies aren’t born dirty,” explains Dr. Ira Jaffe, a board certified maternal fetal medicine OBGYN doctor in NYC. “The way they’re designed to come out is how they should come out.” Babies are born with a white, waxy coating substance called vernix caseosa. This can be beneficial if left on for a while. A 2004 study by ACOG’s Journal of Obstetrics and gynecology points out that vernix adds a protective layer to the skin, which makes it softer and protects the immune system. Additionally, vernix and amniotic fluid contain antimicrobial peptides which can guard against bacteria and fungi. A follow-up article by Science & Sensibility points out that pneumonia and meningitis are among the diseases that these agents protect against. While there is no one standard practice in place for when exactly is best to bath a baby.The World Health Organisation currently advises delaying bathing for at least 24 hours. Don’t be in haste to bathe your baby after birth with the mind that those things you are seeing are dirt.