There may be nothing more adorable than looking through the nursery window at the hospital to see rows of little pastel colored caps peaking out of bassinets. The use of these caps as a method to retain warmth on newborns has been a standard practice in hospitals for years now. However, it is now being recommended that babies who have had a normal birth should not be hatted immediately after birth.
Hatting your baby right after delivery prevents certain biologically primed processes from happening. The smell of a newborn baby’s head triggers a chemical reaction in the mother’s brain. A release of oxytocin is triggered by that oh-so-delightful newborn baby smell, causing the uterus to contract in order to deliver the placenta. When that newborn baby smell is covered up by a hat and replaced with a detergent smell, this process may not occur as smoothly.
Caps have been placed on newborns to keep the baby’s temperature regulated, however with the practice of skin-to-skin contact, the use of hats is not necessary. Kangaroo Care, a method of skin-to-skin contact in which the baby lies tummy-down on the mother’s chest (dads can do this too), helps to regulate a newborn’s temperature. In the process of thermal synchrony that is triggered by skin-to-skin contact, the mother’s body will heat up if it senses her newborn is cold and vice versa.
The benefits of skin-to-skin contact extend beyond simply temperature regulation. Not only does skin-to-skin contact facilitate thermal regulation of the newborn and mother, but it also improves rates of exclusive breastfeeding. In addition, studies have shown that women who engage in skin-to-skin contact following childbirth are less likely to have postpartum hemorrhaging.
The numerous advantages of not hatting Baby following birth are reason enough to start the trend of abandoning the hatting practice for well babies and mothers. Embrace Baby following birth and enjoy skin-to-skin contact time and the heavenly smell of your newborn instead of hatting.
Gibson Newborn Services provides newborn care, education, and consulting services in Dallas, Texas, and throughout the country. If you need help with your newborn, please contact us.
“Hats On Newborn Babies: Reasons To Ditch The Hat | BellyBelly.” BellyBelly. Web. 9
“To Hat or Not to Hat, That Is the Strange Conundrum • Birth Anarchy.” Birth
Anarchy. 12 Jan. 2013. Web. 9 Dec. 2015.