The reasons for not hatting (adapted from Carla Harlty):
1.Hats can be very dangerous. They can cause moms to have postpartum hemorrhaging. As it turns out the experience of birth is what triggers the built in safety mechanisms. This is also true for third stage. Mom being able to smell her newborn’s head is the design for the reconnection of mother and baby (smell of baby to olfactory system to limbic system = initiation of “identification” biology) and release of Oxytocin signaling the uterus to release placenta and stop bleeding so necessary for mother’s health. The smell doesn't so much trigger Oxytocin as it is that the limbic system is waiting for that smell in order to tell the uterus it is ok to proceed to the next step; anything we do to inhibit that process is dangerous to the mamma.
2.In addition to hats interfering with bonding and safety of third stage, hatting restricts the unmoulding of the baby’s skull. Plus the head is extremely sensitive in those first hours.
3.The hats we use in the U.S. do nothing for maintenance of core temp according to the studies I have found, and in fact one study showed that a hat was detrimental to maintenance of core temp. Brain cooling may actually be good for all babies and not those who have potential brain damage. And studies show that skin to skin with mom is most effective way to stabilize core temperature and that in fact, her body will heat and cool as
needed for baby’s sake as it did when baby was inside. Even if separated from mom, a hat is NOT proven to stabilize core temp unless it is woolen these stockinette or cotton hats we use are useless if not dangerous throw them away.
Brilliant! We cannot improve on this design. Why do we keep trying?
I hope you learned. I sure did, when I first heard of this concept. It’s a part of
protecting moms and protecting babies.
My sister took her 4 week old baby to the pool to let him explore. He wore sun block and she kept her back to the sun. While swimming she noticed the center of her baby’s head had sunk in. She panicked called the pediatrician, who was busy, and tried Googling what was going on with her baby.
This can be quite alarming to see happen and if not handled properly can lead to greater medical conditions. The soft spot sinks in when a baby is dehydrated. This can be seen when a baby has been in hot weather, not getting another liquids, or going through the flu. It is important that if you are breastfeeding to continue to and even increase the fluid intake. Formula fed babies should also continue the formula intake to ensure good hydration.
“Children’s skin can be quite sensitive to heat. Nursing moms often discover this, especially in the summertime, when their baby’s face turns red where it is against the mother’s skin. This redness comes from blood vessels in the area dilating to cool the skin down. Cooling the skin usually makes the rash disappear within hours, or even sooner. Prickly heat (miliaria rubra) is a type of heat rash that lasts.
Heat cramps are common with physical exertion. They usually affect the calf or hamstring muscles.
Heat syncope is fainting due to heat/dehydration.
Heat edema is swelling of the hands or feet from heat. People sometimes get this condition when initially exposed to hot weather.
Heat tetany is tingling, especially of the wrists. Hyperventilation in hot weather can cause heat tetany.
Heat exhaustion usually entails a body temperature of 101 to 104, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fainting.
It is important to recognize and treat heat exhaustion immediately.
Heat stroke is very serious. A person’s temperature rises over 104 degrees and he or she has an altered mental status. 50 percent of those with heat stroke die from it. There are two types of heat stroke: exertional, with profuse sweating; and classic, in which the skin is hot and dry. Classic heat stroke builds up over days and is most common in infants and in the elderly. It is a true emergency.
The smaller the child, the less likely he is to be able to tolerate heat, especially if he is already a bit dehydrated or has a fever, and if there is poor air circulation.
Heat injuries can occur at any age. Sports and physical activity are generally beneficial and healthy for adolescents; nevertheless, heat injuries are among the leading causes of sports deaths.”(1)
*If you are concerned seek medical advice and attention. This blog is just to help inform what may be going on with your infant and is not to substitute that of the medical profession.
1. Gavigan C. Healthy Begins Here. June 30, 2010. http://blogs.webmd.com/health-ehome/2010/06/heat-stroke-is-no-joke-keep-hydrated-this-summer.html.