We know, we know; newborns sporting cutesy, teensy hats are exponentially delicious — especially the crocheted lil’ noggin warmers, courtesy of Granny-dearest and for brand-new-babe photoshoots and season’s greetings cards ad infinitum.
But here’s the thing: baby hats are on their way to passé, and for reasons more important than fuzzy widdle fashion statement.
Baby hats have usually been a prerequisite before leaving the hospital with your freshly-baked bambino; however, thanks to continually updated research, more and more hospitals aren’t insisting on covering up newborns’ heads anymore, for a couple of physiologically important reasons:
1. It Covers Up The All-Important, Oxytocin Triggering Newborn Baby Smell
A 2003 study revealed that yummy new baby smell creates a pleasurable response in a new mother’s brain, and is thus a vital tool in helping mum and child bond.
The third stage of labour is also triggered by this uniquely amazing scent. After the birth, a good sniff of bab’s natural perfume signals to your body to expel the placenta.
2. Your Baby Doesn’t Need It
The idea that we lose the greatest percentage of heat through our heads is in fact a recently debunked myth; the most effective way to stabilise and maintain your newborn’s body temperature is via skin-to-skin contact in the immediate hours postpartum. During skin-to-skin contact, if your baby feels too hot, your body will cool down, and if your baby feels too cold, your body will heat up.
Plus – it’s possible for babies to overheat wearing hats while inside — experts advise removing hats as soon as you are indoors. This should apply to hospitals too, where temperatures are often higher than in homes.
And if you needed more convincing, a study in 2010 found skin-to-skin contact after childbirth leads not only to better thermal regulation, but a speedier onset of third stage labour (placenta separating).
Obviously, it’s not always possible to enjoy skin-to-skin time straight after birth. In the case of preemie delivery, complicated c-sections, or other scenarios where you might be separated from your baby, putting clothes and a hat on is the best option.
Otherwise, snuggle up together under the covers, relax, and soak in that eau de newborn. It doesn’t last forever.