Three Things We Need to STOP Doing to Newborns!

I just attended the Trust Birth Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. It was an amazing, mind-blowing and Oxytocin-filled adventure. I got to meet some of my heroines and I learned so much!

Something new that I learned from Carla Hartley at the closing of the conference, was why we should stop putting little hats on new borns. What? Seems like a necessary thing no? Let’s keep that widdle head warm no? NO! A Mother’s body is all that healthy baby needs. According to Boba’s site;

Guilty of Hatting my Own Wee One :0


“A mother has actual “thermal synchrony” with her infant. When a baby is placed in the kangaroo position, skin to skin with his mother, the temperature of the mother’s breasts actually change so that her baby can better maintain his own temperature. If the baby gets too cold the mother’s body temperature will actually warm up one degree to help warm the baby. If the baby gets too hot, the mother’s body temperature will decrease one degree to cool the baby. This even works when twins are kangarooed (Ludington-Hoe, 2004). Furthermore, the flexed position that the baby assumes on his mother’s chest as opposed to lying on his back in an incubator is a more efficient position for conserving heat.”

The Brain Limbic System
The Brain Limbic System (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, okay, so maybe the baby doesn’t NEED a little hatwhat’s wrong with putting it on anyway? A mothers limbic system is set up to receive the smell of her baby.

Research has demonstrated that the changes to the olfactory bulb and main olfactory system following birth are extremely important and influential for maternal behavior. Mammalian olfactory cues play an important role in the coordination of the mother infant bond, and the following normal development of the offspring. Maternal breast odors are individually distinctive, and provide a basis for recognition of the mother by her offspring”.

This can be disturbed by the very presence of this seemingly innocent cap. Human emotions are needed for a baby’s survival since needy infants are completely helpless and dependent on their parents for protecting, caring for and feeding them. Dr. Arthur Janov says:

What transpires between mother and child is a conversation between their right-side limbic systems.

When the mother is attuned to the baby’s feelings, her right limbic system is in tune, and she can feel what the baby is feeling and respond appropriately.

The more parental love there is, the more dopamine neurons in the right brain activate, giving the child a feeling of wellbeing.

The better the baby feels about its environment, the more optimum the dopamine activation in the right brain.

What happens when we receive mother’s love is that we feel good physiologically.

So you say, alright, no hatting. What else?

STOP chatting. The “Huh” you say? Yep. I learned that this time of bonding belongs to the parents. Baby has been hearing their voices almost exclusively. Baby is waiting to hear THOSE voices, not yours. Now is not the time to start processing, this moment belongs to the family. You will have plenty of time to talk about the birth or your feelings about the event that just transpired. When I thought about my role as a doula it seemed right that I smile and beam and wait to talk till I was invited to do so and even then keep a respectful distance.
STOP patting. What? Not touch the baby? Um, no. That baby does not need to be touched by anyone but mama and her partner. The immune system of a newborn is not as strong as an older infant or child. The antibodies that it is born with comes from the mother. The mother can only pass along antibodies against germs which she has built up and immunity to. So hands off, I know that newborn skin is SO TEMPTING! But you must RESIST!

So, yeah. Like Carla says; “STOP HATTING STOP CHATTING STOP PATTING. I read this today and I think it pertains to this topic of not pushing your self on this miraculous event: ”

The Revelation for the ego is to recognize that others are equally important, that their point of view matters, their needs count, and their states of mind, body and soul are entirely valid. 

Let’s respect this family that has just been born. Let us be reminded that their bodies knew how to birth/be born with little assistance (if any) why would they now suddenly need us? Give it a thought and let me know what you think…

11 responses to “Three Things We Need to STOP Doing to Newborns!

  1. Maybe I am not reading it right but you are saying absolutely no hats the entire time you are in the hospital or only after the baby is born and comes back to you? Do you still let them put a hat on when they take the baby back to the nursery or just keep the baby with you in the room and put a hat on when you put the baby back in the baby’s bed? How would you bring this up to your doc and what would you say if they argued that you were wrong and they were right? I am not expecting but have given birth to 3 boys in 3 different situations and love to learn about all things birth… it just fascinates me 😉 Maybe I can have my birth studying done by the time our next one comes along!!!! So sorry for such a long post but I absolutley LOVE it, thanks 🙂

    • This is about when the baby is born. Why are they talking the baby to the nursery? This is your baby you have every right to ask for what you believe in and to stand up for what you want, this is not their baby.

  2. I was just telling someone the other day that I wish people would have just left us alone and stopped trying to “help” me breastfeed by shoving my boob at the baby and stop coming in talking (not to mention the “we need to bathe / weigh / measure baby right now!” (cause he was going to suddenly change or something). Respect the family that has just been born…I like that!

  3. Hi Gena, thanks for blogging about this. We are unlearning the hospital ritual paradigm and getting interested in what parents do when they are left undisturbed. To me, putting a hat on a baby is a way of saying “The baby belongs to the practitioner. They are the first ones to choose what the baby wears.” When the woman emerges as feeder, protecter and matrix for her baby, the whole community benefits.

  4. Pingback: “All black babies are born light skinned…” « A Mom Who Just So Happens to Be a Gamer·

  5. I absolutely love this. Moms and babies instinctively know how to meet each other in the first few moments of life…. if only extra people would leave them alone.

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