Baby mittens: the pro’s and con’s – What is best for your baby?
Should you put mittens on your baby (especially your newborn baby)?
What I found out is that the answer isn’t clear-cut. They are clearly popular and have been for a long time but popularity doesn’t always mean what is best for your child. So keep reading to see what’s great, and what’s not so great about baby mittens
Baby mitten pros
They keep their little hands warm
As new moms, we obviously want to make sure our babies are as cozy, warm, and safe as humanly possible. newborns are not great at regulating their own heat yet and extremities like their hands can easily get cold. This is especially true in the winter.
Baby mittens are perfect for keeping your baby’s hands warm. Using mittens is a very simple solution to cold hands.
Prevents babies from scratching their face
The last thing you want is your new baby injuring themselves with their little nails. Newborns can be born with long nails which, as they are moving around can catch their face. They end up with a cut or scratches on their skin – mainly their face. New-born nails are surprisingly sharp.
Just like keeping their hands warm, mittens are a great solution to stopping them from scratching themselves. I am quite sure that this is why mittens have become so popular.
This is really it for the pros of putting your baby in mittens, now onto the cons, which are sadly quite compelling.
Baby mitten cons
This was actually my biggest concern when considering using baby mittens. So much learning for your baby happens through their hands and their sense of touch. They get to feel all sorts of different textures and sensations through their hand right in those very early days. These experiences for your baby are so important for your child’s brain development.
Using mittens on your baby’s hands, especially if used the majority of the time, drastically reduces your baby’s chances of feeling the world around them. I can’t underestimate how much sensory information your baby will get through sensory touch.
It is also important for your baby to bring his/ her hands to their mouth and exposure their hands with their mouth. This is another developmental behavior that is very developmentally healthy. Using mittens all the time restricts this and your baby is still going to try. This just leads to soggy, unhygienic baby mittens as well as a potential choking hazard which I’ll discuss next.
Your baby should really only be having boob, bottle, and their own hands in their mouth (or a dummy if you choose to use one).
If your baby is wearing mittens and then brings their hand to their mouth -they are placing material in there. You could potentially be risking loose threads and materials ending up in their mouth which could be quite dangerous for small babies.
This con leads on from the first one and felt it deserved a bullet of its own. I mentioned that babies are always putting their hands and fingers in their mouths. They will try this regardless of whether their parents have them wear mittens on their hands or not so they are bound to get very soggy from baby sylva.
soggy mittens from slyva lead to bacterial growth on the mittens and your baby will potentially be exposed to it if they are not changes super regularly – to the point of reculounesses.
Tight baby mittens
Some baby mittens can have elastic around the area they would go around their wrist. You don’t really want to put anything so restrictive on your baby and you risk causing discomfort and cutting off some circulation if it is too tight. This is especially true if you have a chunky baby. Anything you put on your baby should be as losses and open as possible, as anything elasticated should be avoided.
weighing up the pros and cons.
Did I use baby mittens for my babies?
Ultimately, after doing my research I chose not to use baby mittens most of the time. I figured my baby’s development was super important and I wanted them to be able to explore the world around them with touch as much as they could and wanted to. I really didn’t want to restrict them in any way.
For thousands of years newborns coped with the odd scratch from their nails or slightly cold hands before the invention of mittens, so I was sure mine would be fine. Turns out they were and they were both very explorative too (like most babies).
I did use mittens on certain occasions where it was appropriate so I didn’t rule them out completely. they do have their time and place usefulness.
Whether you choose to use them, however, is a personal choice and what you think is right for your baby. Only you will know what’s best.
When it’s appropriate for your baby to wear baby mittens (and when it’s not)
As I said earlier I did use mittens in certain circumstances as they proved their usefulness at times.
I would always put my little ones in mittens or gloves if we were outside and it was cold for long periods. I was not going to let my baby’s hands freeze in cold weather.
I never did this, but you could maybe use them if your baby is scratching themselves excessively until you can manage to trim their fingernails safely.
Alternatives to mittens
If you’re not into mittens but want the option every now and then, many baby suites have fold-over pocked on the sleeves you can fold over and cover their hands.
These are great if your little one just needs a few minutes to warm their hands up or if you’ve gone out in the cold without any gloves.
Best kind of mittens
If you decide that you do want to use mittens then I’d recommend using ones made from natural organic material such as cotton or bamboo as well as avoiding any that have elastic in them for safety. Always check there are no loose threads before putting them on your little one.
There are both pros and cons to your babywearing mittens. The best thing is probably to find the middle road somewhere but ultimately you will have to choose if they are the right things on your baby. I may not have chosen to use them much but I don’t intend to tell everyone else what’s right for them – that’s your choice.