In many hospitals, babies have their first baths in a central nursery with the nursing staff. Nurse researchers in Canada conducted an experiment to find out if babies could be safely bathed by their parents in the mother's hospital room. Half of the babies in the study had baths in the nursery and were then placed on warming tables. The other half were bathed by their parents and then placed skin-to-skin with their mothers. The parents kept their babies just as warm throughout the bath and afterwards. In fact, the only difference researchers observed was that use of the warming table actually increased the chance that the baby would become overheated after the bath. The parents who participated in their babies' first baths reported feeling more confident and said they enjoyed the experience.
Source: Medves, J. M. and O'Brien, B. (2004). The effect of bather and location of first bath on maintaining thermal stability in newborns.JOGNN – Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, 33(2): 175-82.