07 November 2006

Hot water bottle helps newborn get cozy in a bassinet

Mama J eased her newborn out of her bed and into a bassinet like this:

I've been terrified that our newborn would never leave the cozy comfort of our bed to sleep in his own space, but tried this as we approached the 6 week mark:  I got one of those thick rubber hot water bottles, wrapped it in the shirt I had been wearing that day and placed it next to the little guy in his bassinet.  It stays warm for a good 6 hours and emanates my smell.  So far it's been working like a charm.  (Just make sure the cap is screwed on tight and that the water isn't boiling hot when you pour it in.)

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Remember to put the opening of the bottle at the feet. If the opening isn't closed properly (you check it for leaks ofcourse by holding it upside down), it's less bad if the legs and feet burn, than if the face burns.

We found great hot water bottles that have plush covers when we were in Ireland. My 18 mo old niece stayed with us this weekend and I put one in her pack and play with her at bed time. She loved it so much. I will be getting her one of her own for Christmas. At this time of the year, part of the nightly ritual here is filling up all the hot water bottles!

Hot water bottles should always be filled from the tap, not a kettle. Never boiling water!

As well, there are great little beanbag things that you pop in the microwave and then the kids cuddle...someone gave one to our son when he turned one, and it's in his bed every night :-).

That's a great ideafor older kids!

For young babies, though, I'd be worried about sids/suffocation risk. Really, until babies are rolling over and fairly mobile, nothing should go in the crib.


I would not recommend the use of hot water bottles or heating pads. They can be used to prewarm a baby's bassinet or crib, but should not be used while the baby is in the bed.

Remember that babies (as well as the elderly) are not able to regulate their body temperature reliably so applying external heat is not safe.

An old sock filled with rice and knotted closed can be microwaved to be a great heating pad and reused for ages. The moisture in the rice makes it damp heat- especially good thrown across a sore shoulder (the one that holds the baby, maybe). My midwife taught the trick to me to use for backpain, and I think the ease of choosing the temperature makes it ok for using with a child.

I've seen hot water bottles with custom-fitted fleece covers. That would be very cosy I think.

If the bottle is at the feet, not near the face, I think it shouldn't be a problem for SIDS risk ... but it might not be a bad idea to ask a doctor about it.

I use a hot water bottle on my 3-month-old ever since she was 2 weeks old and she loves it. You just have to be careful not to place it directly against her body as this could get too hot (place it on the outside of the blanket you cover her with - the heat will still penetrate).

Perhaps all of you should keep in mind that artificial heating of a baby's bedding is a link to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Wrapping the baby well with his/her hands to their face, placed on their back with a couple of covering wraps should be more than enough.

What I've found works best is just putting the blanket in the dryer for a minute before swaddling the baby, so it's nice and warm.

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