Hi there, new mama! Welcoming a new baby into the family is an exciting time. There are so many things going on in your mind right now, such as newborn sleep and how to warm bottles on the go. But the mom tribe is here to help you! While you were shopping for baby or adding items to the baby registry, you probably noticed those cute and tiny mittens that barely fit over your big toe.
While very adorable, these mittens serve as more than a fashion statement. These mittens are an important accessory for the first few months of your baby’s life.
If you’re wondering why newborns should wear mittens and how long they should wear them, keep reading! Here’s what you need to know.
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Why do newborns need to wear mittens?
So the first question that might pop into your head is: Does my newborn really need mittens?
Newborns are born with a natural reflex called the grasp reflex. This reflex causes them to curl their fingers around anything that brushes against their palms. This grasp reflex lasts for about the first 6 months of baby’s life.
While this reflex is cute, it can also be dangerous if baby gets ahold of something sharp or harmful. That’s why many newborns are fitted with mittens immediately after birth. Mittens prevent baby from grabbing onto and swallowing small objects. They also help protect baby’s delicate skin from scratches.
Newborn nails grow pretty fast, and those little nails can do a lot of damage if they’re not kept trimmed. Mittens help to avoid any accidental scratches (or worse, gouges) from happening.
Some parents may choose to skip the mittens altogether. Instead, they opt for baby nail clippers instead. This is a valid option, but you’ll need to be extra vigilant about keeping baby’s nails trimmed regularly.
Finally, mittens can help to keep baby’s hands warm, as they are still adjusting to life outside the womb. While mittens may seem like a small detail, they play a big role in keeping newborns safe and comfortable.
Choosing the right mittens for your newborn
Mittens seem like simple accessories, but there are different things to consider in choosing what kind of mittens to buy.
You will want to make sure that the mittens are small enough to fit snugly on your baby’s hands. If the mittens are too big, they may slip off and get lost in nowhere land, like those blasted tiny socks.
Choose mittens made of soft material so that they won’t irritate your baby’s skin. They should also be made from breathable material so that your baby’s hands don’t get too sweaty.
Mittens made of cotton or other natural fibers are usually a good choice. Also, make sure the mittens are machine washable! Newborns love sticking their hands in their mouths, so you’ll want to be able to wash the mittens often
There are many different designs of mittens available. There are ones that are slip-on with an elastic band and others with Velcro enclosures. And like all baby clothes, mittens also come in many patterns and colors. There are solid colors and fun prints. No matter what, your newborn stays fashionable and well-coordinated!
How to Keep Mittens on Your Newborn
It can be a real challenge to keep mittens on a newborn’s hands. Those little fingers are just so wiggly! And, of course, they love to put everything in their mouths. But there are a few things you can do to help keep those mittens on:
- Make sure the mittens fit snugly. As I mentioned before, if they’re too big, they’ll slip right off. But if they’re too small, the mittens will be uncomfortable and your baby will want to take them off. They shouldn’t be too tight, but there should be no gaps around the wrist.
- Put the mittens on before your baby starts to get fussy. Once they’re upset, getting them to cooperate will be much harder.
With a little bit of effort, you should be able to keep those mittens on your baby’s hands! If all else fails, ask a friend or family member for help. It’s always easier to control those hands covered when there are two of you!
Do Mittens Interfere with Development?
While mittens can be cute and practical, some experts believe they may interfere with a baby’s development. When babies wear mittens, they can’t move their hands and fingers freely. This can prevent your baby from exploring their surroundings and developing a sense of touch. Mittens can also make it difficult for them to learn how to grip objects. This is an essential skill for later motor development.
Mittens can also prevent babies from exploring their faces and developing a sense of self-awareness. Thus, it is important to make sure they are not worn for too long. Doing so can interfere with the development of the hand muscles and limit the mobility of the fingers.
You can consider leaving the mittens off during feeds or tummy time to give the newborn hands a stretch!
How long should newborns wear mittens?
There is no hard and fast rule for how long newborns should wear mittens. But, most experts recommend that mittens be used for the first month after birth. After that, babies typically start to develop more control over their hands. Thus, they are less likely to scratch themselves. This is when mittens can start coming off.
Of course, every baby is different. You should use your best judgment in deciding when to stop using mittens. After your baby turns about a month old, start leaving the mittens off more during the day with supervision. If you find that your baby still scratches, leave the mittens on for a bit longer.
If you’re ever unsure, feel free to ask your child’s pediatrician for further guidance.
There is no hard and fast rule for how long newborns should wear mittens. But, most experts recommend that mittens be used for hte first month after birth.
Newborns and Mittens: Final Thoughts
Mittens are a necessary accessory for newborns. They protect baby’s delicate skin from scratches and help keep their hands warm. Yet, wearing mittens for too long can hinder fine motor development. Thus, mittens should only be worn for about a month after the baby is born. After that, you can leave the mittens off during supervised periods.
So now that you know all about the importance of mittens for newborns, it’s time to add them to your baby registry! Get more than a few pairs so you’re always prepared (and in case they get taken by the dryer monster)!
Check out these other articles on newborns!