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I am going to have a baby in about 6 weeks! I am very excited and am preparing the baby layette step by step. I noticed that, on almost all lists of what to buy (like the one on BabyCenter.com) they say to buy lots of newborn hats. My question was why, so I looked that up, and some people claim that it's because babies lose most of their heat through their head. Is this true?

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That has been popular belief for a long time. Or should I substitute the nice-sounding phrase "popular belief" for another phrase, one that doesn't deserve as much sympathy - old wives tales. The belief that most heat - up to 45 percent of total body heat - is lost through the head, comes from a 1970s army manual from the United States, as it happens. The claim in this manual was not based on any scientific research. If I tell you where this claim came from, you'd laugh. In short, US soldiers were sent on Artic expeditions (in the 50s, I seem to recall). Of course, these soldiers were equipped with snow suits and body-heat protecting clothing. The only parts of their bodies left uncovered were... their heads. Since only their heads were uncovered, it comes as no surprise that most body heat left the soldiers' bodies through their heads, as shown on heat sensors in the experiment. Now, would you like to know how I found that study? Where I come from, nobody wears hats when it is a little cold out. Not being used to that habit, I never participated in it. And it was only when I had a baby, like you are about to, that I discovered just how strongly many people feel about the whole hat thing where I live now. In fact, the feelings they had were so strong that I was constantly being approached by complete strangers, reminding my to put a hat on my baby. That made me paranoid, and I started wondering whether my baby indeed did need a hat when it was not even all that cold outside. Back at home, nobody did it, so it must not be necessary. After all, I grew up without that obligatory hat. But if everyone thinks it is so very much needed, then where did that belief come from? That is when I came across the above mentioned info. Long story short, we don't, in fact, lose most heat through our heads. As for the baby/hat relationship, my advice is to put a hat on your baby if you feel cold yourself.
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