Should newborns wear hats? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-09-2007, 11:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, just throwing this out there...

If babies needed the warmth of a hat on their head, wouldn't they be born with one?

I just can't grasp this one. What did nature intend?

I know you loose a lot of body heat through the head, and I know that infants tend to have a difficult time keeping their body temp consistent, but what's up with this? Could it be a natural reaction to kick start babies nervous system? Get the metabolism going?

Or just tell me to shut up and put the sweet crochet hat I have on my newborn-to-be's head!!!
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:18 PM
 
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well, we also need climate appropriate clothing to keep us warm and afaik, no person has ever been born with a winter jacket on. Yes, please put a hat on your baby if you are in a cool area. If you live in florida or somewhere equally hot and humid, you can probably go without a hat on warm days.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:28 PM
 
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yes what the pp said!
i can't stand to see a little bebe with a bare head on a windy, cool day. there is much truth to the old wives thing of keeping warm-you are more susceptable to germs when your body is struggling to keep warm. i've noticed my dd's colds always tend to happen after she's been been barefoot or hatless outdoors in cool weather, even for just a little while.

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Old 10-09-2007, 11:28 PM
 
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No hats! Don't ask me why... I just remember reading stuff on why not when I was pg and that I agreed with it. DS never liked any kind of hat anyway. I think he wore one once when we made him--it was windy outside. But I don't even wear a hat outside... So unless I really feel he needs it, he won't either. Neither will the next newborn, not to mention the fact that it will be summer and we won't be going out with him/her for a few weeks anyway.
I just hate how hosps. insist on putting hats on babies' heads! They tried that with DS, but he wiggled until it came off. Same with the swaddle blanket. He was better off with me/touching my skin anyway.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:29 PM
 
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Oh yeah! One thing I do remember is that hats interfere with the birth bubble/bonding/natural process and dont help with temp either.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by *Erin* View Post
yes what the pp said!
i can't stand to see a little bebe with a bare head on a windy, cool day. there is much truth to the old wives thing of keeping warm-you are more susceptable to germs when your body is struggling to keep warm. i've noticed my dd's colds always tend to happen after she's been been barefoot or hatless outdoors in cool weather, even for just a little while.
Colds don't come from cool/cold weather. They're caused by viruses and can be spread in warm weather too.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:49 PM
 
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There have been more than a few threads on this topic... unfortunately you can't do a search for "hat" but I did find two:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=597133
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=564010
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:55 PM
 
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I guess it just depends on the kid - my son needed 2 layers of clothing for the first 3 months of his life, even though we lived in a very hot climate - he just liked to be warm and fussed when he wasn't dressed in 2 layers. But hats weren't neccesary past the first couple weeks - he would overheat. Sometimes heat needs to be lost through the head. Just have to be alert to your particular child's needs.
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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just to clarify...

I really just meant immediately after birth and in an obviously comfortable temperatured environment.

I agree with 2bluefish where I always was just alert to my childs particular comfort level.

Although, this reminds me of when I used to live in NJ. It was a freezing winter day, windy, and all that. I saw a mother walking into a grocery store with her less than 6 mo baby (guessing). She was bundled up, hat, coat, and his head was bear :. I could never figure that one out???
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin+babyAndrew View Post
well, we also need climate appropriate clothing to keep us warm and afaik, no person has ever been born with a winter jacket on. Yes, please put a hat on your baby if you are in a cool area. If you live in florida or somewhere equally hot and humid, you can probably go without a hat on warm days.
Well, we evolved in warmer climates but not necessarily as warm as the womb, and we evolved to be born without a furry covering over the head, so it seems reasonable to assume that there's a certain amount of cooling that is actually a normal part of the process. Perhaps it's beneficial to the newborn in some way. It's common sense that if you're in a very cold place it would make sense to cover the newborn, but birthing rooms are usually fairly warm. In that case (or in Florida) I would be more concerned about overheating.

Let's remember too that a lot of babies in this culture *do* have issues with temperature regulation early on, but they are also bathed. There's no way I'd allow that to be done to my baby, but if it did happen I'd understand the need for some sort of covering.

In my case, with my first two babies a hat was put on immediately and I regret that because it's very clear to me that it affected the bonding process. I think there was a crucial hormonal window of time for me to "catch" the baby's scent. With my babies in which the head was never covered for months afterward I would swoon at their scent. It was ambrosial. That never happened for me with my babies who were covered from birth. So if it was me and I felt the head needed to be covered, I'd use the top of the blanket initially while the baby was with me skin to skin, and only use an actual hat when the baby was separated from me.
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:07 AM
 
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Eh, who cares. Probably unnecessary most of the time. But not a big deal to put one on them, either.

Laura, CBE and mom to Maddiewaterbirth.jpg ( 06/03/04) & Graceuc.jpg (  09/10/06)
 
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by anudi01 View Post
What did nature intend?

I know you loose a lot of body heat through the head, and I know that infants tend to have a difficult time keeping their body temp consistent, but what's up with this?
Or just tell me to shut up and put the sweet crochet hat I have on my newborn-to-be's head!!!
They are also born without clothes...with that rational- those poor little babies born in January are S.O.L.
Just because they are born without something doesn't mean that they don't need it. They do loose a lot of body heat through the head-
I don't see a lot of studies being done on baby's metabolism and whether/whether not they wore a hat.
I know I need a hat on really cold days and I hate them!!! DH has a shaved head and he gets really cold without hair....
So, "shut up and put the sweet crochet hat you have on your newborn-to-be's head" Why wouldn't ya?

Blessed with two BEAUTIFUL little girls: Kylie (09/06) and Maggie (4/09) :
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:10 AM
 
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I didn't put a hat on our little girl after she was born, but as previous posts mentioned, I didn't bathe her right away, I dried her off and kept her skin-to-skin. I also had the heat cranked up in our room, so it was nice and warm. she did just fine. It was only once I took her out of the house that I put a hat on her because it was cold. But while she was inside where it was nice and warm--no hat.

I'm not sure it matters that much, but....

I DO have a much stronger "scent" bond with my UC no-hat baby that my son (hospital birth with a hat). I KNOW her scent in a way that I don't know my son's. Food for thought.
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:32 AM
 
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After I had my second baby (a UC), and I was talking on the phone with my MIL a few days after the birth she said, "and you've done this before so I'm sure you know, but please remember to keep a hat on the baby" !! Oh, so like her!

I've never liked putting a hat on the newborn; they just seemed to distance me from my baby and I always thought those little newborn beanies looked uncomfortable (with the big seam and a tag on the inside). I never really put a hat on my babies unless we were going out or it was chilly in the house. I like the rule of thumb- dress your baby one layer heavier than you feel comfortable- though I think whoever said that wasn't thinking about lucky babies who are held close and worn, so if you don't feel like you need a hat, your baby probably doesn't either.
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Old 10-10-2007, 05:02 AM
 
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if it was really cold after my babe was born, I'd put a hat on it. Otherwise, I wouldn't.

::
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:23 AM
 
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Not right after they're born - they're close to me having skin to skin contact which warms them.

I have only had middle of winter babies, so they often had hats on after the initial birthing time (not all the time though).

We didn't wash them for a while either, just so I could soak up that smell. I firmly believe that it helps with bonding.
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Old 10-10-2007, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the links fourlittlebirds...

As I suspected, more reasons to NOT do things that are ordinarilly thought to be standard.

And thanks for all of your input.

NO HAT FOR THIS BABY!!! Skin to skin all the way, Baby!
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Old 10-10-2007, 12:07 PM
 
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I think it's a cultural thing. Where I live (Argentina), where we have very cold winters, no one puts a hat on newborns immediately after being born (I'm not talking about being outdoors) However, everyone is obsessed with baby feet, they put socks and more socks. However, I truly believe feet are better when left naked since they help the body regulate the temperature and function as hands in terms of recognizing the world, etc.
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Old 10-10-2007, 01:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by augustacherri View Post
I DO have a much stronger "scent" bond with my UC no-hat baby that my son (hospital birth with a hat). I KNOW her scent in a way that I don't know my son's. Food for thought.
Thank you for saying that! It seems like I am always ever the only one saying this and I start to feel like a freak. A lot of people think it's nuts -- I remember one thread where this woman was just *livid* that I would claim that chemical bonding can and should take place immediately after birth (because she wasn't able to be with her babies after birth.)

The effect was SO strong for me, and it did NOT take place with my boys, who had hats placed on them immediately. Maybe some people are more sensitive to it than others, I don't know. All I can say is what happened to me, and hope that people don't dismiss it just because it wasn't the case for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hotpreggermama
After I had my second baby (a UC), and I was talking on the phone with my MIL a few days after the birth she said, "and you've done this before so I'm sure you know, but please remember to keep a hat on the baby" !! Oh, so like her!
That was my mom. I'm like, mom, I can handle it, thanks! Remember, I've had three babies before this, and somehow I've managed to keep them all alive! And she would laugh and know I was right, but really she just couldn't help herself. She's a nervous nellie type.

Quote:
I've never liked putting a hat on the newborn; they just seemed to distance me from my baby and I always thought those little newborn beanies looked uncomfortable (with the big seam and a tag on the inside).
I put the hats on inside out if they had a seam. I did have a couple hats that were lined with no seam, very nice. (Gymboree.) Hats knitted with natural yarns, though, are the best!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivanhoe
However, everyone is obsessed with baby feet, they put socks and more socks. However, I truly believe feet are better when left naked since they help the body regulate the temperature and function as hands in terms of recognizing the world, etc.
Yes, exactly! It makes absolutely no sense that the feet should be more fragile than the hands. This was another one that my mom would drive me crazy on. And strangers in the store! It would be 70 degrees out and they would be tsking me for not having socks on the baby. They were more concerned about the socks than the hat. I'd be like, um, and should I put mittens on their hands too?
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Old 10-10-2007, 01:49 PM
 
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This is a little OT, but you know how everyone always talks about that newborn smell? So I had my baby (UC, no hat, very primal, etc!) and I have *never* noticed any particular smell. I mean, she smelled good, especially after a bath. But I even sniffed several times and was like "hey! where's the newborn smell everyone talks about?!" LOL

I started putting hats on my baby at night when she was a few weeks old, because our bedroom got cold, especially at the head of the bed near a big bank of leaky windows.
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Old 10-10-2007, 02:05 PM
 
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Thank you so much for the links and the information! My kids always hated hats and brushed them off as soon as they had the arm strength and co-ordination to do so. I hated them too and love the smell and feel of those soft baby heads under my chin; tbh, it's STILL intoxicating to smell my fifteen year old's hair when I snuggle him awake in the mornings.

However, I dutifully bought newborn caps and put one of them in my birthing box without really questioning whether it was necessary, just knowing that I would get dirty looks for my hatred of hats and fully expecting this baby to cry and try to get the thing of just as his/her siblings have done.

I intend to sew up multiple fleece pouch slings (once I cut back on my hours of paid employment in the third trimester) for warmth and since this baby is due in February, I purchased my rain jacket in a size extra large so I can zip it up right over baby and carrier when I go outside.
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Old 10-10-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mrskennedy View Post
Colds don't come from cool/cold weather. They're caused by viruses and can be spread in warm weather too.
yes, I know they are, intellectually BUT i have watched it happen time and time again, to my dd, myself, my other family & friends-being underdressed just makes a cold come on! anecdotal or not, I believe it.

hats at birth, when the temperature is comfortable-as the OP clarified-i think are not necessary, unless maybe the baby is somehow physically compromised.

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Old 10-10-2007, 02:47 PM
 
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We've put one on DD2 once. DD1 promptly snatched it and said it was hers and tried to wear it.

I hate hats. There is a reason I think we lose heat from our heads. I think it's beneficial to some degree. We all sweat to help cool ourselves but we don't try and stop that yk?

FIL is from Chile and I have never met someone so obssessed with socks! He routinely stopped by after DD1 was born with packages of socks. My kids have scrawny, boney feet. socks really do not (honestly) fit until they are closer to three months old, if not older. Even preemie socks don't fit. I can handle a slightly baggy sock (which drives me batty) but they fit so poorly that they slide off even when they are just laying there!

It drives me nuts being out in public with babies though. I get so tired of being told to put on socks or a hat or a jacket etc. I run hot. Dh runs hot. Our DD's run hot. A hat seriously overheats them! As do socks most of the time (when I can find some that fit that is ). I've had some assinine comments about clothing with DD1 when she was in the sling. Even DH (who is found of layered clothing...me? I'm a nuddie ) would shake his head at some of the stuff we've heard.

That said, I have never noticed this so called newborn scent. I never had the urge to smell DD2's head either. I was so looking forward to that and it never even dawned on me until she was about 2 weeks old when i read mention of it again. She was coated in vernix too so it wasn't like she didn't have a scent. It just wasn't something I noticed.

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Old 10-10-2007, 02:57 PM
 
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The hat interfered with initial bonding with my dd. I don't think it's a big deal for everyone, but it was for me. In the fog of just having completed the horrendous ordeal that was giving birth, the first coherent thing I said was, "Does she have to wear the hat?" The nurse and doctor both yelled "YES!!" and put it on her. I kept sneaking it off in the hospital to smell her head.

It's quite important to me at the next birth that the baby does not wear a hat, at least for initial bonding. I feel strongly about it, but I understand there are women who simply don't care. That doesn't mean it's unimportant for everyone, though.

It's also my understanding that this is a rather U.S. (or maybe North American) phenomenon. Putting hats on newborns is not routine, to my knowledge, in the U.K. or France; in fact, one reason they don't put them on babies in France is that they feel the hat impedes the baby's ability to self-regulate and slows the natural process whereby the baby's body adjusts to the environment outside the womb and learns how to self-regulate. Frequently in the U.S. the argument is that the baby should wear the hat because it has a hard time self-regulating it's temperature.

Sort of like how every baby should get a vitamin K shot because babies are "deficient" in vitamin K at birth. Yes, the levels are low, but that doesn't mean the newborn is deficient. Sounds like a natural state to me; why do we automatically assume that we have to compensate for it in a healthy, uninjured newborn?
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:22 PM
 
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Here's a link to a hat thread in the main B&B forum for even more POVs

It's hard for me to say whether I think babies *should* wear hats because most babies in my geographic location are born in hospitals, and IME, hospitals are chilly and most babies aren't kept skin to skin with mama, where they belong in order to regulate temp.

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Old 10-10-2007, 03:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourlittlebirds View Post
...and we evolved to be born without a furry covering over the head...
You say!

We put a mama-made hat on the new person for a photo op, but that's it.
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:29 PM
 
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I don't really know if they're necessary or not from a scientific standpoint, but my godson hated wearing them from the start. He mastered moving his head just right to knock them off without ever trying to use his arms (before he got that coordination) He wasn't fond of being swaddled, either (pitched a hell of a screaming fit each time) I just used to wrap him up loosely and cover his head with part of the blanket, it was SO much easier to go that route than have him squirm and holler over a frickin' hat and tight wrapping.....Of course, his mom always swaddled him, and kept putting the hats back on, she never believed in simple alternatives to keeping him warm and happy, what the nurses "taught" her was apparently golden to her *insert rolling eyes here*
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:30 PM
 
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I think as with everything you need to figure this out on a personal level. My daughter was too cold after she was born (like 2-3 degrees below normal body temp. This time we have hats and I think they do keep heat from leaving the body. Its just up to you whether you think that extra heat is necessary. It makes sense to me that newborns have trouble regulating their body heat for the first few days/weeks because they were in the womb for 9 months where mom was regulating it for them.
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:55 PM
 
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I haven't had a UC but DD was born at home and I couldn't keep a hat on her head. The midwife immediately put one on, but soon afterward we took it off. It kept slipping off anyway, and I figured why would she need one when she was constantly in contact with me and in a house that was 70 degrees warm.

FWIW, both of my kids were very sweaty and overheated more easily than they cooled.

With the new babe we intend to go sans hat unless the baby shows signs of some discomfort.
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Old 10-10-2007, 05:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by feebeeglee View Post
Okay, you got me there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizzie9984
He wasn't fond of being swaddled, either (pitched a hell of a screaming fit each time) I just used to wrap him up loosely and cover his head with part of the blanket, it was SO much easier to go that route than have him squirm and holler over a frickin' hat and tight wrapping.....
Yeah, that's another one I don't understand. Obviously the baby isn't going to be comfortable set out on its back with nothing around it, but tight swaddling is *nothing* like the uterine environment (where babies do have some freedom of movement.) A loose cradling next to mama is much closer.
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