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What to take a baby home from hospital in?

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secretspirit | 20:22 Thu 03rd Mar 2005 | Parenting
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Advice from Mums and Dads please! I know this will seem like a really stupid question but my baby's due at the end of May and I'm fretting about what to take her home from hospital in so that she's not too cold and not too hot either! I'm not at all experienced with babies so I don't want to get it wrong. From reading different websites it seems that from inside to out they need to be wearing: nappy, bodysuit/vest, all-in-one or babygro, socks, scratch mittens, hat and shawl. Surely that will be too much in May even for a newborn? What do you think?

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The main danger with new born babies is that they might overheat which could (in rare occasions) lead to convulsions, so it is best to err on the side of less clothing.  However, it would be a good idea to wait and see what the weather is like on the day.  As far as I know, midwives always follow you to the car (assuming your partner or other person is picking you up by car);  I have never been too sure why they do this, it may be in order to make sure you know how to secure the child seat properly.  It would be a good opportunity to ask if the baby is over or under dressed. On a warm day, I think a nappy and a babygro (meaning a garment with either short or long sleeves and poppers that do up under the crotch so it does not ride up the back) should be enough.  A cotton blanket would be handy.  Socks get lost, and I have never seen the point of scratch mittens although some people like them.  Hat optional. Best of luck!!!

As far as I know you need to put a hat on your baby because they loose most of their body heat from their head. Best of luck :)
My son was born on a hot July day and with hindsight I would only change one thing.  I was a new mom and the midwives kept wrapping him tight in a blanket ('swaddling' - very old fashioned and this was only almost  7 years ago). After a few times of me removing the blankets I  asked them to leave him be, as he was hot.  I think as a mom you do know your own child.  Some are hotter than others.  Trust me, you just know.  I don't think you'll use the hat but as you are concerned enough to ask questions, it goes without saying that you will be a fab mom and, like all moms, you'll surprise yourself time and time again.  You won't believe now what you will achieve after May and beyond.  Good luck and, above all, enjoy.  Take lots of newborn photies too. xxxx  PS For your own peace of mind, buy it all.

Hi there, my daughter was born just 2 years ago so i have fairly recent experience. i would go with the nappy/bodysuit and 1 more layer plus make sure you haev a blanket with you just incase its breezy. The best advice i heard was theat the baby should always be wearing one more layer than you would need yourself. Hope this helps you and good luck when the time comes :-)

my wee guy was born end Sept 2003.  The hos[pital was ludicrously warm (our ward even warmer than neo-natal) and weather outside was mild (end of hottest summer for years here).  We went with nappy, vest, baby-gro hat and a blankie over him.  We took him down to the car in his car seat (no midwfie followed us - maybe that's a Scottish thing).  When we got intot he car we took off the blankie, replacing it when we got out the car other end.  Scratch mits just do nto stay on...we gave up with tehm, adn socks are totally unneccessary if you've got your little one in a baby-gro that has feet.  We only used a hat cos they lose so much heat from their heads.  I'd agree with above, biggest danger to newbies is over heating.  If baby gets slightly cool, it's much easier to warm them up a little with your own body heat, than it is to cool down an overly hot baby.   Go with your instincts....you will just know - and no midwife, mum-in-law or health visitor will knwo your baby better than you do, even after only a few hours together.  I had zilcho experience with very young babies until I had my own....you'll amaze yourself with how much you do instinctively. Good luck, I'm sure it'll all go fabulously. xx
P.S. Sunflower....our midwives had a go at swaddling my wee guy, but it quickly became apparent that he was a'hands-up' kind of sleeper, so they gave up.  However, all 3 other babies in the ward loved being swaddled, despite the heat. 
All the above is good advice. It is important that you don't worry too much about your lack of experience with babies - most people are in the same boat with their first one (we certainly were), but you don't read stories about the extraordinary death rate for first-born children. You'll be really surprised how easily you get used to it and how good you will be at it.
As a rough rule of thumb, I always went with the same number of layers I was comfortable in plus one. So you can't really predict till you see what the weather's like at the time.
Question Author
Thanks so much for all the answers and sharing your experiences, it's especially reassuring that you say I'll be able to tell whether the baby's comfortable or not because I'm really scared of getting it wrong. I'll take the full works to the hospital and then see what the weather's like, because in this country you just never know.

From a Harvard Medical School site:

You should dress your baby as you dress yourself, varying the types and amount of clothing according to the weather or room temperature. Babies are small and tend to lose body heat more easily than adults, but they also can get overheated if dressed too warmly. Check your baby's skin temperature by feeling the back of his neck or his arms or chest. Don't judge his temperature by his hands and feet, because they are usually cooler than the rest of the body. If your baby is too warm, he will feel hot all over and may look flushed, feel sweaty, or develop a bumpy heat rash. If your baby is too cold, he will feel cold and may be fussy or curled up tightly to keep warm.

As a general rule of thumb, dress your baby in one more layer of clothing than you are wearing. On very hot days, your baby will probably be comfortable wearing just a diaper and a cotton undershirt. On cooler days, add layers of clothing until your baby feels warm enough. Several light layers of clothing retain heat better than one thick layer, and outer layers can be easily added or removed as the surrounding air temperature changes. Hats help to retain body heat in cool weather and protect against the summer sun...

Just one more point, when checking if baby is too hot or cold, don't relie on the hands or feet;  slip your hand down the back, under the clothes.  You may find the hands are cold but the back is hot, in which case it would be unhelpful to add layers.

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