Courtney Buss, like many first-time mothers, wanted all the white, goopy film washed off her baby immediately after delivery.

Three years later, Buss said she knows better.

The white, waxy film is called vernix caseosa and “it’s good stuff,” said Buss, a nurse at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin. If she knew just how much vernix helps newborns, she would have waited to bathe her daughter, she said.

“Wait to bathe” newborns is a concept Buss began researching in October 2015 and now half of the Advocate Health System hospitals are adopting the policy.

Buss was chosen for an Advocate Evidence Based Practice Fellowship allowing her to spend six months researching the idea and exploring whether it could be a new hospital initiative, she said.

Typically, nurses give newborns a sponge bath immediately after delivery because babies were perceived to be dirty, Buss said. But an immediate bath may not be best for baby, rather delaying a bath for eight to 24 hours is better, she said.

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