Newborns and hats - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-19-2007, 05:27 PM
 
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About 4 hours after my son was born a nurse put a hat on him. He hated having it on, he'd fuss and knock it off and if I went to replace it he'd fuss more, so we didn't bother with it. It just wasn't practical for us, I was holding him and the room was warm enough anyway. And babies' heads smell so good, and are so kissable, why cover them up?
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Old 01-19-2007, 11:00 PM
 
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Today at my DONA-approved doula childbirth education class, we watched a video from University of Vienna (Austria) from 1995, showing 4 mothers as they labored & birthed in a birthing center.

And none of those babies wore a hat.

I don't think I would have noticed that detail if it were not for this current discussion.
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Old 01-20-2007, 04:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FreeThinkinMama View Post
I'm not convinced that hats are harmful. They might be unneccesary, i think they probably started the practice because of the old idea that being cold makes people (and babies) sick or more suspectible to sickness which isn't true. But I wouldn't fight nurses about putting a hat on my baby, I would rather choose my battles and enjoy my new baby. I just don't see the point in raising a big fuss about a hat when there are things like routine circumcision and newborn hepatitis B vaccinations going on.

Here's what I know...

I was 18 and 20 yrs old when my oldest kids were born (now 10 and 14). I did not have the sense to ask so I would understand or speak up if I disagreed abotu ANYTHING. I simply went along with whatever the doctors and nurses told me to do or told me they were doing, etc.

Both births were SO mainstream...afterwards...I mean, although they were both hospital births, I did not have any pain meds or medical interventions during the labor and delivery (DID have the obnoxious countdown to push, but that was it--no meds, no IVs, no epis, etc).

However, after the babies were born--the machine went to work--washing, weighing, hatting, etc...And it never occurred to me to take that hat off. Not one time. It didn't occur to me that the presence of the hat was foreign to this very natural process.

Now, at age 32, I'm much more educated about pregnancy and childbirth and the issues that go along with it. I'm also not afraid to speak up for what *I* think is right for MY situation.

I missed out on this "intoxication" mothers speak of...I didn't nuzzle my older kids downy heads until I got them home. I didn't benefit from that intimate contact from the first moment...

Regardless of the possible medical implications of hat vs. no hat, I am developing a strong position that I DO NOT want extraneous people inserting themselves into our first moments after our baby is born (as a previous poster described). I do not want unnecessary barriers between my baby and me. I do not want anything to interfere with that immediate bonding process that happens in the moments just after birth...

And I never would have thought any of this important if I hadn't found this community and if I hadn't had a place to ask this question. LOL...so, I'm really thankful for that!

Of course, when I went to my husband (out of the blue while he was working on one of the new rooms we're adding to the house) and said, "I don't want them to put a hat on the baby when she's born", he looked at me like I was crazy...having no idea what I was talking about or where I was coming from...and I had a hard time trying to explain it...but now that I've written this post, I think I'll be able to make better sense.
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Old 01-20-2007, 10:24 PM
 
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This is why I love this forum. I had never even thought of this before, as as an L&D nurse, we always slap a hat on after the birth. But after reading this last night, I skipped the had with the baby born this morning. And it was lovely, mamas hand went right there. And the baby's temp was fine, the exact temp of her mom. Thanks for this post!
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Old 01-25-2007, 06:46 PM
 
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OMG, I love my midwife! I did get to enjoy those uninterrupted moments with my three kids thanks to HER. I never thought about these things before, and I never considered a home birth, but she made sure that my hospital births were wonderful, she made sure the doctor arrived after the babies were already there (ooops), she made sure that the babies were put directly on my breast with no hats/clothes to interfere with bonding, she made sure they stayed there for a very long time and relaxed until they felt like nursing to establish nursing right away, she made sure the babies did not get bathed (only one had too much blood on him and she helped DH bathe him), and then she made sure I went home two hours after birth (along the lines of "you're not sick, why do you want to be in a hospital?". I LOVE HER! I never realized how important all that was. Years on, I still savour those moments. Heck, I never realized this was not NORMAL!
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Old 01-26-2007, 05:52 AM
 
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Yes, that is what I was referring to earlier, but you explained it better, thanks!



And that's what I was thinking in response to what Jessica was talking about. An awful lot of births in developing countries take place in hospitals or clinics that are not heated and the baby's had a bath and separated from the mother... in such a situation I would certainly be worried about the baby's heat loss. But not if the baby had never had a bath and was being held next to a warm body. I just seriously doubt that babies who are in contact with a human body are dying just because they don't have a hat on. The real issues are doubtless human contact, nutrition, sanitation, and access to antibiotics when needed.

I did use a hat on my babies who weren't covered directly after birth -- but only at night (our mattress is on the floor where it's colder, and the baby slept next to me but not skin-to-skin) and when we went out into cold weather. If it's cold enough for me to be bundled up, obviously it's cold enough for the baby to be bundled up. There's some common sense necessary there. But likewise if I'm warm and comfortable without bundling, the baby should be too if s/he is in contact with me.



It made a huge difference to me in how I bonded to my babies, and now that I know that, it would be enough to raise a big stink about if I had to birth in a hospital. I know that's anecdotal, no big studies have been done to prove that there is a chemical reaction occurring. I'm just curious about what, in your experience, makes it so easy to discount it?
That's odd because both of my babies have worn hats and I managed to bond just fine with them.

even more amazing is that my first dd was bottle fed and my new baby boy is breast fed and I managed to bond with both of them the same! Go figure;P
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Old 01-26-2007, 05:57 AM
 
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Here's what I know...

I was 18 and 20 yrs old when my oldest kids were born (now 10 and 14). I did not have the sense to ask so I would understand or speak up if I disagreed abotu ANYTHING. I simply went along with whatever the doctors and nurses told me to do or told me they were doing, etc.

Both births were SO mainstream...afterwards...I mean, although they were both hospital births, I did not have any pain meds or medical interventions during the labor and delivery (DID have the obnoxious countdown to push, but that was it--no meds, no IVs, no epis, etc).

However, after the babies were born--the machine went to work--washing, weighing, hatting, etc...And it never occurred to me to take that hat off. Not one time. It didn't occur to me that the presence of the hat was foreign to this very natural process.

Now, at age 32, I'm much more educated about pregnancy and childbirth and the issues that go along with it. I'm also not afraid to speak up for what *I* think is right for MY situation.

I missed out on this "intoxication" mothers speak of...I didn't nuzzle my older kids downy heads until I got them home. I didn't benefit from that intimate contact from the first moment...

Regardless of the possible medical implications of hat vs. no hat, I am developing a strong position that I DO NOT want extraneous people inserting themselves into our first moments after our baby is born (as a previous poster described). I do not want unnecessary barriers between my baby and me. I do not want anything to interfere with that immediate bonding process that happens in the moments just after birth...

And I never would have thought any of this important if I hadn't found this community and if I hadn't had a place to ask this question. LOL...so, I'm really thankful for that!

Of course, when I went to my husband (out of the blue while he was working on one of the new rooms we're adding to the house) and said, "I don't want them to put a hat on the baby when she's born", he looked at me like I was crazy...having no idea what I was talking about or where I was coming from...and I had a hard time trying to explain it...but now that I've written this post, I think I'll be able to make better sense.
I agree with the general point of your post, that women should stand up for themselves and their babies to avoid unneccesary interventions. I just don't see how putting a hat on them is the same as routine IV's and epis. My babies didn't wear the hats 24/7 anyway. it was usually at night when it gets colder and/or they're sleeping. so i wasn't prevented from stroking their hair and kissing their heads. if you think of the hat as a foreign object, why not the diaper and any other clothing we put on them? those things are functional. i see the hat as functional.
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Old 01-26-2007, 06:11 AM
 
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Interesting, i had DD in a hospital, and about an hour after she was born, they took her and DH to the nursery to weigh and measure her. In the nursery, they showed DH a box of knitted hats made by the women's club there, and he picked a gorgeous pink one. She only wore it for a couple of pictures, but i adore that hat. It's so small, and made with such love. i have it on display in my daughters room.
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Old 01-28-2007, 06:31 AM
 
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I can understand the reasons given for not wearing a hat immediately upon birth BUT,

I am ALWAYS cold. I see the shows on tv about birth and all I can think of is please hurry and put a blanket on the baby he/she is cold!

My rule is, If i'm cold, everybody's cold. I'm thinking of a hospital birth and know how cold hospitals are. I have even thought about bringing my own extra blanket or requesting about 3 blankets for my stay.

I have never given birth to my own child, but I have raised several foster newborns and i have had no trouble bonding with them, with or without the hat. I know that if I am going through 9 months, labor and birth, nothing as minor as a newborn hat is going to prevent me from bonding with my baby. I would be extremely worried about my baby being cold and that would inhibit my initial bonding if anything.

I guess I lean more towards the mainstream regarding birth although I would like no meds.
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Old 01-28-2007, 07:30 AM
 
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For some reason, a hat was never put on after the birth. However, one or two days later, the nurses had my ass for walking around with her in the hospital without one on. :

I just brushed it off as whatever, because they never offered me a hat either and I didn't have one with me. If it was that big of a deal they would have one to give.

I could honestly have cared less if a hat was put on after the birth. I had far more important things on my mind than a stupid hat. I certainally don't buy that it misshapes the skull more than pushing it out of my loins did.
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Old 01-28-2007, 09:03 AM
 
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Although I love the look of them (loose fitting and cotton that is):the first thing I do is take it off to smell and kiss the little scalp
I agree with leaving mother and child undisturbed for a LONG time right after birth though! But after that (depending on temperature) they can be useful. My very old aunt (98) told me in her days nobody would put a hat on a babe when inside, she was surprised that has become the regular thing to do nowadays. But my daughter wore hats until she finally began to grow some hair which was only after 4 months or so (to be sure she has grown an incredible amount of hair since!) As she was born in fall season, I'd rather put more clothes on her than turn up the heat which made her skin (and mine) dry and itchy. (she still likes hats BTW)

Mom to two girls, wife to DH : : : : : :
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Old 01-28-2007, 09:50 AM
 
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as you can see hats are not even consistently used in all places- and I am not saying that hats should never be put on a baby- what I do say is now there is exploration in medicine on the uses of not warming the head-
I am also stating my personal experience with my children and what I have seen with and without hats at births I have attended
- of course we bond with children with or without hats- heck I have people in my life that I didn't meet until they were adults that I have bonded with- I guess that is not my point.
There is a difference in maternal interaction with a baby with and without a hat on- at the very least it should be studied to outline the differences and even the difference in body temp- is there a difference in circulation patterns?
Studying bonding has fallen by the wayside for the past 15 years or so- yes for the most part there is no one single thing that makes or breaks maternal infant bonds between a determined mom and her baby- but in the past it has been shown that increased contact- physical contact changes mom/baby behavior in bigger ways- does it surprise you at all that co-sleeping moms touch their babies more or that they feed them more? what are the differences between hats and hatless in the first hrs? are there any long term effects or differences- both in bonding and physically? I am not really looking for one more thing for you to add to your list of micro-management of a birth, one more stress, it is something to consider
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Old 01-28-2007, 01:56 PM
 
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I've been following this thread, and I think it's great! I never considered the hat issue, but I've been thinking more about when I had my son, and the first few days after. Immediately after DS emerged, I was pretty out of it just from the pain and hard work. He was on my belly, but it was wierd that I didn't really care. It wouldn't have mattered to me if they had taken him to another room. After a few minutes, the nurse took him to the warmer. Probably about 20 minutes after the birth I finally became more aware. Then I wanted to see my baby really badly and I couldn't because the warmer was on the other side of the room and the nurse was standing in front of it. I was annoyed because I didn't know what she was doing to him, or why it was taking so long. (And the OB was putting in my stitches, which I could feel.) I asked DH what DS looked like, and he said, "I don't know, a baby." I asked DH what they are doing to him, and said, "I don't know." I asked the nurse what his Apgar scores were. She and the OB looked at each other, and neither one answered me. Then the OB put in another stitch and I yelled, "Ow! Are you almost done?" And she said, "No." I tried to close my legs involuntarily in response to the pain, and she pushed my legs back open. She was annoyed with me squirming around and complaining. I can't remember if she said something like, "Hold still." No one told me what his Apgar scores were, and I wondered if they don't do them anymore. Finally, after what seemed like forever (an hour?) and the OB was done with me, the nurse brought DS back to me and he was all bundled up in a blanket. I was glad to finally see him, but I felt like I wasn't really seeing him. All I could see was his face. I really wanted to see him naked, but I thought he must need to be wrapped up in a blanket for some reason (to stay warm? to feel secure, like in the womb?). I thought I would get in trouble if I stripped him naked after the nurse swaddled him up so perfectly. So I felt a little short-changed that I didn't get to see him naked immediately after birth, (well after I came to my senses). So yeah, I felt like I wasn't allowed to touch my own baby, who was a perfectly healthy and robust 9 pounder.

So hey, don't you all think that swaddling is a bigger impediment to immediate bonding than a hat? The hospital did give us a hat. There's a group of ladies that knit baby hats and donate them to the hospital. It was cute, but too big for DS, so he didn't wear it.

Tis the season, for hot apple cider!
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Old 01-28-2007, 08:39 PM
 
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I think there is huge benefit to upright delivery and placing the baby on below the mom - and allowing her to touch and pick up her baby when she is ready.

This practice of throwing the baby on mom's belly immediately (because they're lying on their back) and then rubbing them with blankets totally interferes with that birth bubble. Then again, nearly everything done in the hospital interferes with normal labor, birth and postpartum.
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Old 01-28-2007, 09:10 PM
 
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It made a huge difference to me in how I bonded to my babies[...]
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Originally Posted by FreeThinkinMama View Post
That's odd because both of my babies have worn hats and I managed to bond just fine with them.
It's great that you were able to bond with your babies exactly the same and were happy with that level of bonding whatever it was. Regardless, it's not odd in the least that some women are especially sensitive to the bonding process. There are many factors that go into the bonding process, and this is just one. That it happened not to be a significant factor for you doesn't mean that it isn't for anyone.
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Old 01-28-2007, 09:38 PM
 
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and I think "bonding" is less what we're talking about than the hormonal release that is so delicate during the labor/birth/immediate postpartum experience. This delicate balance of hormones helps prevent complications to both mom and baby immediately after birth.
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Old 01-29-2007, 02:26 AM
 
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Wow, this thread has made me think back to my 2 hosp births. It is such a shame that I thought I wasn't "allowed" to remove the hat. I remember having a VERY strong desire to take the hat off and really look at my baby, but I felt like I had to sneak that look - that I wasn't allowed to take her hat off.(I was young, and I'm a rule follower/pleaser.) I have a very vivid memory of pulling her hat back about an inch and looking at her hair all stuck in place b/c she hadn't had a bath, yet. I am a major snuggler, and I KNOW I would have been all over that little head had I not had that hat there. Who wants to love on a hat? I'm speaking mostly of my VBAC(2nd baby) since I didn't get to hold my 1st DD for well over an hour after my c/s. I was sooo tired after the long day of labor and unplanned c/s that I didn't really even see her until the next morning, eventhough she roomed in. I was told to strip her to wake her up so she would nurse then reprimanded when the nurse came in and DD wasn't all covered up.(She was born in late July in Florida!) That colored my 2nd birth big time. I was afraid to uncover any of my babies at the hospital after that, except to change a diaper.

With my 3rd DD, a homebirth, I remember thinking in my head, "I can uncover her, I can look at her, I can pick her up, I can do whatever I want w/ her, and no one will stop me!" She was never once swaddled in her life. I didn't have a hat for her, either. It was soooo nice.
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Old 10-10-2007, 01:24 AM
 
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Absolutely--wow....the hat (formerly appriciated as a helpful and cute newborn accessory) is now another element of Mainstream Birth for me to frown about.
oops i just bought an adorable one made of organic cotton .... it was too cute and irresistible. maybe i will save it for winter.

relaxed-unschooler mama to dd (2003). hoping for second one. love being a mama!!
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Old 10-10-2007, 02:37 AM
 
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I think there is huge benefit to upright delivery and placing the baby on below the mom - and allowing her to touch and pick up her baby when she is ready.

This practice of throwing the baby on mom's belly immediately (because they're lying on their back) and then rubbing them with blankets totally interferes with that birth bubble. Then again, nearly everything done in the hospital interferes with normal labor, birth and postpartum.
yes. I think a course in self relaxation should be a requirement for all birth attendants. Take a deep breath, keep your feet planted on the floor, and let nature play out. Nature 'knows' more than we do
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:25 PM
 
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I loooove little baby hats. : Lilly has a ton from the NICU and I just adore all of the tiny hats. I'm not even pregnant yet and I want to make some cute little hats. I promise though, I will take off the hat and smell my next baby's head so we can be properly bonded, then I will put the hat right back on just because I think it's cute.

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Old 10-10-2007, 05:02 PM
 
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Hats are put on babies here immediately after delivery as well. But I´ve never heard on anyone getting chastised for NOT putting one on or a parents being griped at.

The only deliveries I attend are the potentially bad ones where the baby comes out possibly needing to go to NICU. So hats immediately after delivery aren´t something I deal with. I know that well baby nursery gets cold at night, so we are pretty consistant about keeping hats on them in there. (there actually are lots a parents that still choose to send their baby to the NBN...we encourage rooming in.)

When parents come in the unit to see their baby...I´ll bundle them up and put a hat on them (or not) if I remember. Often it´s the parents that want the hat on and remind me that I didn´t put it on. The more smaller and premature the baby is, the more dilligent I am about the hat thing...the larger term babies...not so much. And when any baby is BFing I just tell mom as long as the baby is against her skin, it will stay warm. They don´t need to keep it swaddled with a hat on.
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Old 10-10-2007, 06:02 PM
 
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Well, i had a CS, but they let me hold her for a minute (just naked, no hat) after she was born, when I was still on the table. They did have to take her away for a few minutes because the surgeon was still working, and I guess they weighed her then.

In recovery I held her wrapped up in a blanket. She hadn't been washed (I have photos of her still all covered in vernix). They cleaned her up afterwards and put on the clothes we'd brought. I hadn't thought of a hat so she didn't have one. Never did when she was in the hospital, even when she was in NICU. They did have teeny little hats for the preemies, but I suppose it's different for them. (Aliza wasn't preemie, just badly jaundiced.)

I've never had her wear a hat indoors, never even thought about it. When she was a newborn she was being held all the time anyway. She had little hats for when we went out because it was cold.

DD 01/2007, DS 09/2011

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Old 10-10-2007, 06:43 PM
 
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I just think it´s silly to hear stories of hospital staff chastising parents for not having a hat on the newborn. It´s not. that. big. a. deal. Some people need to lighten up.

This may get me flamed, but the only time I will say something about keeping the baby warm/bundled whatever is when I see people passing a newborn from person to person in nothing but a diaper and maybe a shirt. Of just laying it in the crib with nothing on but a diaper. No one is really cuddling it for any amount of time, just looking at it and passing it around. This doesn´t happen often. But I do think if the infant is going to be ¨passed¨ around it should be bundled, or at least loosely wrapped in a blanket. I don´t get all balistic about it but I try to gently remind them if the baby isn´t being cuddled it should at least be covered. (hat optional)
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Old 10-10-2007, 07:31 PM
 
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I would like to add for further clarification that those newborn polyester / striped 'hats' (they're stockinette types with the tie on the top) are NOT enough to keep any baby warm.

We need to consider, too, if we're really going to get into babies needing to keep their head warm that anything put on right at birth needs to be removed soon after that and replaced. (because the first one will be damp)

Preferably with a double ply COTTON only cap or a wool cap.
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Old 10-10-2007, 07:59 PM
 
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It's very interesting that they should insist on a hat immediately after birth to regulate body heat, and then insist that they never wear one when wrapped so that they can regulate their body heat.
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Old 10-10-2007, 07:59 PM
 
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when will we, as midwives, stop looking to our clients for validation of our worth? when we will stop using their birth experiences as boosts for our esteem?

oy, I'm so ranty. sorry.
No, you're a midwife, through every layer.


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Old 10-10-2007, 08:09 PM
 
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This is why I love this forum. I had never even thought of this before, as as an L&D nurse, we always slap a hat on after the birth. But after reading this last night, I skipped the had with the baby born this morning. And it was lovely, mamas hand went right there. And the baby's temp was fine, the exact temp of her mom. Thanks for this post!
And responses like this are why *I* love this forum. :P

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Old 10-10-2007, 08:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by QueenOfThePride View Post

So hey, don't you all think that swaddling is a bigger impediment to immediate bonding than a hat.
nak

definitely! but we dont swaddle at my birth center- naked skin to skin. so its the hats that i think about

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Old 10-10-2007, 10:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wannabe View Post
It's very interesting that they should insist on a hat immediately after birth to regulate body heat, and then insist that they never wear one when wrapped so that they can regulate their body heat.
Great point! Gotta love the "experts."

So often, there's not a whole lot of 'evidence-based medicine' being practiced, IME.

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Old 10-11-2007, 07:09 PM
 
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Wow, I had never thought about the hat before. All of the justifications (for not wearing one)make sense.



You all make me look forward to smelling a newborn head now.

Mama to my sweet Sophia, born at home on 4/6/11.
 
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