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What Is Vernix?

This Post Praising "Birthday Frosting" Is Not Referring to the Delicious Cake Topping

Birthday frosting! 🎉 Before you go "eew!" consider this: your baby may have been born with vernix as a protective layer...

Posted by Birth Without Fear on Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Everybody loves a little (or a lot) of frosting on their birthday, but this post from Birth Without Fear isn't talking about that vanilla or chocolate goodness you spread on top of a cake. The "birthday frosting" this post is referring to — accompanied by a photo of a sweet little newborn tush — is the protective layer of vernix babies are sometimes born coated with.

Vernix caseosa, the cheese-like substance you can see in the photo above, serves many purposes. Not only does it act as a moisturizer for a baby's skin, it protects their delicate body from the ammonia in mom's amniotic fluid, and works as a lube to help baby slip out during birth (though it doesn't feel quite so slippery in the moment, does it?).

As Birth Without Fear's post suggests, "Before you go 'Eew!'" at this photo, know that The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests not wiping the layer of vernix off your newborn, as it's not necessary for hygienic reasons, and leaving it on for a few hours may even have antibacterial benefits.

Not all babies are born with a coating of vernix, as sometimes it's absorbed in the amniotic fluid, but if your baby is, think twice before declaring how gross it is (it is a little bit, we totally get it) and try to let your baby reap the benefits of their first serving of "birthday frosting." It is sugar-free, we assume?

Image Source: Tilstede - Fotografi
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