Birth in the Know

Newborn Baby: To Hat or Not to Hat, That is the Question

newborn baby

There are so many cute hats for newborn babies. The real question is: “Does my baby need to wear a hat?” Not, “Which hat do I put on my baby?”

Research is constantly changing, and new information is revealed. It takes 10-15 years for the research to catch up to practice. Let’s delve into this one about hats.

One of the main reasons newborns always wore a hat is because it was said that there is more heat lost through the head and that hats will help regulate the baby’s temperature. This reasoning has been turned on its head. This study concludes:

“Skin-to-skin care implies better thermal regulation and a better proportion of exclusive breastfeeding at hospital discharge.”

Not only is the baby’s temperature better regulated by the skin- to –skin (and no hat), but also exclusive breastfeeding happens more. What a bonus!! Sadly, a lot of hospitals still bathe, and wrap babies, and promote skin-to-skin sometimes, or when requested. That’s another blog post to be written.

The hat on the baby also interferes with the oxytocin response mothers have when they smell their newborns. Nature has a perfect design and the hat is an unnecessary obstacle for the bonding that occurs after birth.

Keeping your baby warm in the early weeks does not require that you put a hat on your newborn. Holding your baby skin-to-skin, and even just holding your baby allows you to connect and help your baby regulate their temperature and other vitals. You will get to know when your baby feels hot or cold, which is important in determining fever.

Overheating is possible, just as under heating is. You can ditch the hat and be assured that your baby doesn’t need it, and you are the only heat source necessary, as long as your baby is a full-term, healthy infant.

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