“Eight pounds 8 ounces,” announces the nurse. “My, she is a big girl!” The doula snaps a photo of the digital reading on the scale for the baby’s memory book. The brand new father excitedly posts the vital statistics on face book for the world to see what he has created.
Although we have been trained to think of bacteria as bad the truth is there are many microbes which are beneficially for our health. We are meant to live in a state of balanced symbiosis with these beneficial bacteria. That process is meant to start during the birth and continue during the hours immediately after birth; just as the squeezing of the birth canal prepares the baby for the adjustment of breathing air into her lungs to oxygenate her own blood. If we think of bacteria as bad and the baby as “dirty” then of course we feel a need to wash her. What happens if we think of the baby as being in an important microbial transition time which may impact her overall future health?