There’s no simple answer to that question.
The surface of their heads and hands lose a lot of heat, so babies lose a lot of heat. So, the solution to the title’s question should be self-evident, right?
Not at all.
Because hat and mittens have their own concerns, such as overheating.
Protective mittens may be recommended by paediatricians, but it has nothing to do with cold hands; rather, it is to safeguard their sensitive faces from scratches.
Today, I’ll do my best to assist you in determining when (and when not) to cover your baby’s hands.
Take a deep breath
I realise how easy it is for a parent’s head to become cluttered with concern.
Why are their hands cold, even though they’re swaddled in a warm room?
Is it possible that they’re catching a cold? So, what should I do now?
I can tell you right now that cold hands are, in the vast majority of situations, normal and do not suggest any serious problems.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s learn a few tips about baby temperature management so you never have to worry about it again.
First things first – getting the environment right
Even if cold hands don’t necessarily indicate that you’re doing something incorrectly, take a moment to check off some “best practise” boxes just to be safe.
Dress them properly.
- The name of the game is layers. Instead of thick layers that are difficult to put on and take off, choose for thin layers that are easy to put on and take off.
Temperature in the baby’s room
- One of the most common mistakes new parents make is overheating the room.
- The ideal temperature is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (20 and 22 degrees Celsius).
Swaddle for the colder months
- If you reside in a colder climate and the baby’s room temperature dips below 64.4° F (18 °C), you should wrap them in a warm swaddling blanket.
- Try utilising a wearable blanket if you have a restless sleeper on your hands (like I do) (sleeping bag).
Keeping the baby away from moving air.
- If possible, keep your baby’s cot at least a few feet away from draughty windows, air vents, or fans.
What is the best way to keep a baby’s hands warm at night?
- If you determine that they require additional warmth for their hands, a soft pair of mittens would suffice.
Symptoms of a chilly infant at night
- Your baby’s nose and neck will be cool to the touch if he or she is cold at night.
What causes cold hands in babies?
Because babies can’t control their whole-body temperature as quickly as adults, they often have cold hands.
That may seem strange, given that we’ve all heard that babies have a higher core temperature than adults.
That is correct. To a certain extent.
Temperatures for Baby’s Sleep
The normal body temperature range for a baby is 97-100.4 ° F (36.1-38 °C), whereas the usual temperature range for an adult is 97-99 ° F (36.1-37.2 °C), according to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics).
It all comes down to core temperature.
While a baby’s core temperature is higher than an adult’s, the control mechanisms are not fully developed. As a result, their body prioritises the core and does not distribute heat evenly across the legs, arms, and hands.
That’s why cold hands are more common during times of transition, such as when you stop swaddling them. There’s nothing wrong with their little bodies acclimating to different temperature patterns.
To summarise, if your baby’s hands are cold, you should check their stomach. It will be warm almost all of the time.
Circulation and activity
Cold hands in babies are caused by the same thing that causes cold hands in adults: a lack of blood flow to the area.
So, the same logic applies.
Sleeping and eating are interesting activities for newborns. Because of their low activity levels, less blood reaches their hands and feet, causing the limbs to get cold.
The frigid hands are likely to warm up as they get more active without your intervention.
Furthermore, the majority of their blood is being used for purposes other than keeping their hands warm, such as organ development. As a result, many neonates have bluish skin. It’s called acrocyanosis, and it’s a harmless “condition” that lasts for a few hours or days.
The “however” section
aka. when to take action
I understand that you dislike reading about anything that may contain even a smidgeon of negative news.
What I wrote earlier is still true: cold hands are most likely nothing to be concerned about.
However, cold hands can suggest a fever or other, more significant issues.
Fever is one of the most common causes of cold hands.
If your child has a fever (a temperature of at over 100.4°F), their body is too preoccupied with fighting infections to deliver enough blood to their hands and feet.
Other more important reasons
If your kid has icy hands and bluish areas on his or her torso or lips, it could be a sign of something more serious.
That is unquestionably the moment to contact your paediatrician.
It’s more than just a matter of hot or cold when deciding whether or not to cover your baby’s hands at night. It’s all about convenience.
You can cover them if you can do so without risking overheating.
If you don’t, that’s fine, too; cold hands are a normal part of your baby’s growth in most situations.
- Should babies have hands covered at night?
Yes, it is a good idea to cover your baby’s hands at night. Because it aids people in sleeping soundly, but not throughout the day. It depends on the infant’s age; if the baby is a newborn, you must cover the baby’s hands at all times otherwise the baby will turn blue due to hypoxia. Put mittens or gloves on her or his hands.
- Is it OK if my baby’s hands are cold at night?
If they’re chilly for a short time — as after a bath, outside, or at night — older babies’ hands and feet can become blue. Don’t be concerned. This is totally normal and will fade away as the baby’s blood circulation improves.
- Do babies sleep better with hands covered?
The American Academy of Pediatrics conducted a study on swaddling and discovered that it helps babies sleep longer. If they have access to their hands, they sleep even longer. Swaddle with your hands free to touch your cheeks or suck on your hands to self-soothe, according to prominent occupational therapists.
- When should you stop covering babies hands at night?
The majority of paediatricians, as well as the head of the task group that developed the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleep recommendations, urge that parents stop swaddling their kids at two months.