Naked Dads

Recently I was asked, “Why do you have so many pictures of naked dads?”Natural Birth Midwife

I was slightly surprised and taken back by this question, and pondered as to where one might surmise I had pictures of “naked dads”.  Obviously the question resulted in my face contorting  a puzzled look.

“Naked dad’s?” I responded?

“yeah, those pictures you have of naked dads holding a baby”

“OHHHHHHHHHHHH”  now I understood!  “those aren’t naked dads, those are daddies who are holding their brand new babies closest to their skin to keep them warm!”

Amazingly, God made our bodies with incredible blood flow.  The rushing arteries motorized by the amazing beating heart pumping blood throughout our bodies produces incredible heat.  This heat filters into our fat tissue, and seeps out of our skin to keep us warm.

New born babies are much the same except their systems are newly transitioning to life outside of the womb.    They do not have a lot of “fat” like adults.  They have a fat called “brown fat” that actually is a reserved for them to maintain heat.  Brown fat is different, in many ways, primarily it is quickly burned up (metabolized) when used for heat.   It actually helps the babies maintain a core body temperature. If a baby is not warm, it body will use the stores of brown fat to maintain warmth.  These stores can quickly be used up and then the baby can no longer maintain a good body temperature.

Keeping “brown fat” in mind and a new born baby, one can consider how easy it is for them to be cold.  Really, they are coming out of a very warm environment.  The temperature they are used to is about 98.6 F.  At birth, a baby leaves this warm environment and most often comes into a cooler environment.  They also enter this new environment wet.  The cooler environment would be like stepping out of a heated pool into a 70 degree room.  It is chilly to say the least.  Therefore, their initial reaction may be to cry.  (I would- it is cold).  In addition, they will start using their brown fat reserves to keep warm.

To help our newborn babies reduce their stress, we like for the babies to go right on to mom’s abdomen or chest if the cord is long enough so that they can immediately feel her warm skin.   They also benefit from hearing her heart beat and snuggling.  Once born, we may use a soft blanket or towel to dry them off and cover their body while laying directly on mom.  They remain unclothed and are laying on moms uncovered skin. When ready, dad may take the baby to hold and snuggle.  Of course, we ask the dads to “remove their shirts” and snuggle those babies next to their body so they can stay warm.

Our bodies are a natural heat source for the brand new babies to keep warm.  We can actually provide them with the best heat source possible.  The best way for the baby to obtain this heat is direct skin to skin contact.  Babies skin touching directly on to mom’s or dad skin.  If the baby, mom or day is dressed then some of the heat is absorbed into the fabric.  The best way to keep a baby warm and reserve the brown fat is skin to skin contact immediately after birth.

I guess I have to say “we like naked dad’s” because we know that the baby is warm.

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