An In-Depth Look at the Pros and Cons
Most parents want to do everything they can to keep their newborn baby comfortable, healthy, and safe. One common question that comes up is whether or not newborns should wear hats while sleeping at night. There are some potential benefits as well as drawbacks to consider when making this decision.
Why Some Parents Choose to Use Hats at Night
There are a few primary reasons why parents may want their newborn to wear a hat while sleeping:
A newborn’s body is still learning how to regulate its own temperature. Wearing a hat can help retain some of a baby’s body heat and keep their head warm. This may be especially useful during the colder fall and winter months.
Some research has found a link between consistent hats use in newborns and lower rates of hyperthermia (overheating) and hypothermia (becoming too cold). Keeping a hat on can help maintain a stable body temperature all night long.
Hats can also function as a bit of protective padding for a newborn’s soft head. If they happen to roll or brush up against the bars of the crib or bassinet, a hat may cushion the impact.
Newborns often move around frequently while sleeping, so a hat may prevent against any minor bumps or friction. Parents find comfort knowing their baby’s head is shielded.
The added warmth and protection of a hat may simply feel more cozy and comforting to a newborn. The weight and feel of a hat on their head may give them a sense of security while sleeping. This may lead to longer, more restful sleep periods.
Reasons Some Parents Don’t Use Hats at Night
While the potential benefits are clear, there are also some reasons why parents may choose to forego hats while their newborn sleeps:
1. Risk of Suffocation
Safety should always come first with babies. There is a small risk that a hat could shift and partially cover a newborn’s nose or mouth during sleep. Even though the chance is incredibly low, this is enough to deter some parents from using them.
It’s recommended that if hats are used at night, they fit snugly and not be easily removable. But accidents can still happen, so hats are avoided altogether by some parents for safety.
2. Overheating Risk
There is also a chance that a hat could cause a newborn to become too warm while sleeping. Babies cannot easily push a hat off if they begin overheating.
While hats may help maintain temperature, regulating body heat is still a skill babies are learning. Some pediatricians advise against hats so a newborn does not get too hot.
3. No Added Benefit
For parents who keep their home at a comfortably warm temperature, the hat may not provide any real advantage. As long as the environment is climate controlled, a hat is unnecessary to keep a sleeping newborn warm. Saving them for outdoor use only is fine.
Other Considerations and Precautions
Aside from the decision of whether or not to use a sleeping hat, there are some other considerations:
- The hat should be knit and breathable, not too thick or heavy. This allows for air flow and reduces overheating risks.
- Never use strings or ties on a newborn sleeping hat. These present serious strangulation hazards that can be very dangerous.
- Don’t overdress a baby who is wearing a hat. Use lighter pajamas and lightweight blankets to prevent them from getting too warm.
- Ask your pediatrician for their hat recommendations based on factors like your climate, home temperature, and newborn health status. Doctors can provide personalized guidance.
- Stop using a sleeping hat whenever the baby appears too hot, sweaty, or agitated. Babies can’t regulate temperature well – be alert for signs of overheating.
Making the Best Decision For Your Newborn
When it comes to the question of whether newborns should wear hats at night, there are decent arguments on both sides of the issue. As with many parenting choices, there is no universally right or wrong answer.
The decision can vary based on factors like the family’s home climate, the baby’s health, and parent’s risk comfort levels. As long as safety precautions are followed, either choice can be appropriate.
Being informed on both the benefits and risks allows parents to make the most educated choice for the needs of their newborn. As the baby grows and develops, reevaluating their needs can determine if the hat use remains right for them.
The most important thing is that parents consider all angles and decide what feels right for their child. Trusting instincts while following safety advice is usually the best way forward. With the proper precautions, hats can be used safely – but aren’t strictly necessary.
As babies mature and gain temperature regulation abilities, the hat decision often becomes less crucial. But during those first few months, keeping newborns warm, protected, and comfortable gives them the best chance at restful sleep.