All newborn babies are at risk of having an abnormally low body temperature (hypothermia) – especially those born premature or unwell. A low body temperature in babies can be dangerous and can lead to serious health complications. For some babies it will mean admission to the neonatal unit, leading to medical interventions and prolonged hospital stays. Keeping newborn babies warm (but not too warm) is therefore a critical intervention that can improve a range of longer-term outcomes.
Why do babies get cold?
- They have a large body surface area in relation to their weight.
- They have a large head in proportion to their body.
- They have little subcutaneous fat.
- They are not able to shiver.
Cold babies can develop hypoglycaemia, metabolic acidosis and respiratory distress; they are more likely to need admission to the neonatal unit.
What can you do to help?
- Safe skin-to-skin care;
- Appropriate dressing and wrapping of baby after skin-to-skin;
- Early temperature check to make sure your baby is Not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
- Early Feeding.