When you’ve been swimming around in a cosy womb for nine months, it can be a shock to suddenly find yourself shivering in a draughty room, which is why babies are always wrapped up in blankets at the hospital.
Newborns have trouble regulating their body temperature, and because they are so small and have little body fat. Temperature control is especially important for premature babies as they are at the greatest risk for hypothermia or hyperthermia.
As he grows, your baby will become better at staying warm and by about three to four months (depending on his weight), he should be comfortable at the same temperatures as you are. In the meantime, here’s how to keep him at womb temperature (geddit?!).
Keep your baby at the right temperature
- A healthy baby’s temperature should be between 36.5 and 37.8°C. If you’re worried your baby has a fever, consult your doctor.
- Set your thermostat between 18°C and 20°C when your baby first comes home from the hospital. If you prefer it slightly cooler, give your baby an extra layer.
- You might notice your baby’s hands and feet feel a little bit cold as babies typically have poor circulation. For this reason go by the temperature of your baby’s chest – if it’s warm, she’s fine. If it’s cold, add a layer or turn up the thermostat.
- In the summer make sure your baby stays well hydrated. If you’re breastfeeding make sure you drink plenty of liquid, too.
- It’s a good idea to dress your baby in easy-to-remove layers to allow for changes in temperature throughout the day.
- Babies lose a lot of heat from their heads, which are large in proportion to their bodies, so make use of all those dinky hats your relatives bought.
- Babies sleep deeply and are more likely to get cold or overheat when they’re in the land of nod, so check on them every so often.
Never pile blankets on a small baby or overheat the room, as elevated body temperature while sleeping has been linked to cot death (SIDS).