Many parents wonder whether their precious new arrival needs to wear a hat, especially as a newborn in a hat looks totally adorable.
The answer is two-fold.
Yes, a baby who has just been born should wear a hat in hospital.
But newborns and older babies can and should wear hats at other times too.
Does this include at home? Or during summer? And how about when sleeping?
Let’s find out more.
Should Newborn Babies Wear Hats In Hospital?
When a baby is born it has to transition from two very different environments – from the warm and cozy womb that it has been used to for many months, into the world you and I are used to.
As the contrast in temperature between the two environments is large and sudden for a baby that has literally just been born, a newborn should wear a hat when it is in hospital to prevent excessive heat loss.
Should Newborns Wear Hats Indoors?
Once your newborn baby leaves hospital and is in the comfort of their new home, there is no need for it to wear a hat provided your home is not excessively cool.
The ideal room temperature for a baby is 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the temperature in your house is within this range, then there’s no need to wear a hat indoors.
This is particularly important, because wearing a hat indoors could lead to your baby overheating.
However, if during the first one to two weeks your think your baby may be cold indoors then you could dress them in a hat, but always under supervision and never when sleeping (more on this below).
Should Newborns Wear Hats Outside?
The decision whether to dress a newborn in a hat when outside will largely come down to the external air temperature.
During colder months, a baby’s head should always be covered when outdoors to prevent too much heat escaping from its body.
There’s a good rule to follow to determine whether your baby needs to wear a hat outside.
If the outside temperature feels even a little cool to you, then there’s a good chance your newborn should wear a hat.
Do Newborns Need Hats In Summer?
Once they leave hospital there is no reason for your newborn to wear a hat unless they are in a cold environment.
So if you’re thinking of putting (an insulated) hat on your baby for warmth, there’s no reason to do so in the summer or warmer months.
However, all babies need strong protection from the sun.
So on a hot sunny day you should definitely dress them in a sun hat, as well as take other precautions against the sun.
Should Newborns Sleep With Hats?
Our body temperature naturally drops when we are sleeping, so you might be wondering if your newborn needs to wear a hat while sleeping.
The answer is no, newborns should never sleep while wearing a hat.
The simple rule to always remember is that a newborn should only wear a hat under supervision.
For this reason a newborn should never sleep with a hat, because it could lead to overheating or suffocation.
If you’re concerned about the best way to keep your little one warm at night, the best thing to do is dress them in the right layers.
Does My Newborn Need An Organic Cotton Hat?
Most baby hats are made from cotton, but you might be wondering if it’s necessary to buy an organic one.
The decision is a personal one, but organic cotton might be the way to go.
Unlike conventional cotton, organic cotton is not produced using harmful toxins and pesticides, so it’s more gentle for sensitive skin.
As babies have much more sensitive sensitive skin than adults, it is safer to dress you baby in an organic cotton hat rather than one made from conventional cotton.
It’s also a good idea to wash the hat before use to avoid any potential skin irritation.
Your baby will need to wear a hat more often that you.
This is because babies have disproportionally bigger heads compared to their bodies, which results in more heat being lost via their head.
However, because a young baby cannot regulate its temperature, it could overheat surprisingly quickly.
Signs that your baby may be overheating include feeling hot and sweaty to touch, looking flush and being easily agitated.
On the other hand, if your baby has cold feet or hands, pale skin and is fussy for seemingly no reason, they may be too cold.