Are Mittens Bad For Babies? The Honest Truth

Are Baby Mittens Necessary?
Newborn scratch mittens, or baby mittens, supposedly prevent your baby from scratching their face.
In cold weather, moms use them to cover their baby’s hands and prevent them from getting cold.
The problem with baby mittens is that besides them being useful, they are also bad for babies.
How?
When your baby wears them, they tend to gather dirt and become wet from a baby’s saliva, creating a breeding ground for germs.
This can lead to your baby getting sick.
And this can leave you wondering…
Should you buy your little one baby mittens or not?
As with any other baby items you buy for your little one, baby mittens have their pros and cons.
When you do decide to use mittens, consider how they benefit your baby, as well as whether they have any unwanted effect on your little one.

Pros And Cons Of Baby Mittens
While newborn mittens stop scratching and keep your baby’s hands warm, they carry a safety risk.
I go over baby mitten pros and compare them with the cons below to help you decide if they are really necessary.

Baby Mittens Pros
Here are some of the reasons why you might need scratch mittens:

Using Baby Mittens To Stop Newborn Scratching
The primary goal of mittens is to stop babies from scratching themselves. From birth, babies don’t really have good control of their hands.
They have jerky movements. For one reason or the other, they always end up scratching their faces.
Sometimes the scratches are not serious and can easily go away.
But other times your little one’s nails might scratch their eyes.
Covering those little hands prevents unwanted cuts and scratches on the face.
You might also need newborn mittens if you haven’t managed to cut your baby’s nails and you are worried they might scratch themselves.
Let’s face it, trying to cut your baby’s nails is a struggle on its own. It is also risky. With startles, jerky movements, and all.
From my experience, cutting a newborn baby’s nails is one of those simple but easily forgettable things to do.
I mean, between nursing (or bottle-feeding), changing diapers, bathing your baby, and everything else on your mom’s to-do list, no one can blame you for forgetting.
That is when baby mittens might come in handy.
But you don’t have to turn to using mittens just because you often forget to cut your baby’s nails.
Try to cut your baby’s nails every chance you get.
If you don’t want to do it while your baby sleeps (because who wants to risk waking a sleeping baby, right?), choose a time when your little one is calm.
If you find it risky to cut your baby’s nails, use a nail file. It is safer.
Regular nail cutting or filing will keep those nails nice and short, always.
Bye-bye unwanted face scratching!

Using Newborn Scratch Mittens To Keep Baby’s Hands Warm
Babies’ hands tend to get cold. Even during hot weather.
Now you can imagine how cold they get if left uncovered during winter. Cold hands will obviously make your baby feel uncomfortable and irritated.
To prevent this, moms often turn to baby mittens as a solution.
However, this might not be necessary.
Swaddling your newborn can help with keeping your baby’s delicate hands cozy and warm.
Just make sure you swaddle your baby safely.

Baby Mittens Cons
Here are reasons why your baby does not need mittens:

Baby Mittens Get Dirty
Mittens collect dirt.
Either from your own hands or surfaces your little one comes into contact with.
Now guess where all that dirt ends up?
You got it right! Your baby’s mouth.
This makes baby mittens unsafe for your baby.
Saliva Build-Up
Newborns have a natural ability to soothe themselves by sucking their own hands.
The problem with a baby wearing mittens is that, whenever your little one tries to put their hands on the mouth, they obviously lick the mittens.
And what happens?
The mittens get wet from saliva. Saliva build-up is a breeding ground for germs.
Your baby will definitely repeatedly put the mittens into the mouth, and be exposed to these germs each time.
Not good at all.
Another problem is that wet mittens get cold during winter and end up making your baby’s hands cold.

Baby Mittens Prevents Your Baby From Self-Soothing
Newborn mittens cover a baby’s hands and disturb their sense of touch.
They form a barrier and prevent your baby from soothing themselves by licking their hands.
As mentioned before, babies are born with a natural ability to self-soothe by licking their hands.
This helps them develop their sense of touch. Babies also use their hands to explore other surfaces around them.
Covering your baby’s hands prevents them from self-soothing. It also interferes with your baby’s development in the process.

Newborn Mittens Come Off Easily
This must be the most annoying thing about using mittens!
These things simply don’t stay in a baby’s hands.
Unless you use the ones with an elastic band tight enough to hold onto your baby’s wrist.

Are Baby Mittens Good Or Bad For Babies? The Verdict
After considering baby mittens pros and cons, there is only one question to ask:
Do babies need mittens?
Not really.
You may find them useful but they are definitely not a must-have item.
They definitely carry a safety risk for your baby.
For that reason, I don’t consider baby mittens to be a good item for your baby to use.
When you weigh the pros and cons of baby mittens, it is evident enough that mittens are bad for babies.
The benefits simply don’t outweigh the negative impact they have on your baby’s safety and development.
Should you stop newborn scratching with baby mittens?
There is no need.
Firstly, regular cutting and filing of the nails will keep them short.
Even if you end up forgetting to cut your baby’s nails for a few days, there is no need to worry.
Scratches from baby nails are usually not serious and often go away on their own. Without any treatment.
Are you worried about your little one’s hands getting so cold in winter?
You can prevent cold hands in chilly weather by simply swaddling your baby to keep their hands warm.
However, using mittens boils down to personal choice, really.
I myself have never used them with my two babies. I wouldn’t advise anyone to use them either.
Baby mittens are a nice-to-have item. A nice-to-have item that carries safety and developmental risk for your little one.