Healthy Family & Home

Do we really lose most of our body heat through our head?

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My mother used to tell us to put a hat on to go outside to play in the winter because we lose most of our heat through our heads.

It turns out that’s not entirely true.

While a hat can definitely prevent the heat loss that occurs through the head, and therefore keep you warmer, we don’t actually lose MOST of our body heat through our head.

Yes, there are people who actually study these things.

Jolie Bookspan is one such person. Through her work designing rigorous experiments for military survival training, she has found out that we really lose less than 20-30% of our body heat through the head. (Interestingly, the colder it is, the higher the percentage of heat lost through the head, she tells us. At zero degrees Centigrade, we could lose as much as 35% of our body heat through our heads! That percentage also depends on what you’re doing: if you’re exercising outside, it then becomes a smaller percentage.)

Where did the head-heat-loss myth come from?

The Guardian reports a new study that debunks the popular myth.   The site tells us, “The myth is thought to have arisen through a flawed interpretation of a vaguely scientific experiment by the US military in the 1950s. In those studies, volunteers were dressed in Arctic survival suits and exposed to bitterly cold conditions. Because it was the only part of their bodies left uncovered, most of their heat was lost through their heads.”

However, in response to the new study mentioned in the Guardian, Kenneth J Collins, a clinical physiologist, brings up a concern. What if people, particularly the elderly, forego hats if they learn that this myth is actually false? The study, he says, ignores the fact that cooling on the head and face actually can have important bodily effects. It seems that cool air on the face can cause systemic cardiovascular reflex responses, and that body temperature can be selectively influenced by cooling of the head and face.

Remember, babies’ heads are bigger, relatively

So, while it may be true we don’t lose MOST of our body heat through the head, 20-30% is still a big number. Imagine what this means for babies, who have even bigger heads relative to their body size, and therefore more surface area from which heat can escape.

So, don’t skip the baby hat when you’re going out on a chilly day!

Toddler Tenderness

Does your baby have an object he loves?

My son is obsessed with toothbrushes. I’ve had to move my husband’s and mine out of the drawer in the bathroom where I’ve kept them for years, because he goes and gets them – and then brushes everything with them.

He will take the tube of toothpaste and pretend to squeeze some out onto the toothbrush. Then he waves it around vaguely near his mouth, probably thinking he’s brushing his teeth. Then he’s off and running with the toothbrush firmly clenched in his chubby little hand.

He now has about 3 toothbrushes stashed around the house and car. He carries one with him into my older son’s preschool during drop-off and pick-up. (The teacher said he could be obsessed with worse things, right?)

I’ve heard of babies having strange loveys: a water bottle (oh that crinkly sound!). A shoe. But I’d never seen it for myself. My first baby never became attached to anything in particular.

But as is often the case, my second baby is SO different from the first.

The foam baseball bat was the first lovey to go everywhere with him. Then when that went missing, it became a bubble wand.

We tried getting him attached to a proper lovey. He had a little plush frog that attached to his pacifier that he was supposed to form an emotional bond with. (It was supposed to help wean him off the pacifier. You just remove the paci and hope they’re happy with only the frog. My son just laughed as he tried to suck on the spot where the pacifier had been attached. And then cried for the real thing when he really wanted it.)

That frog has hopped off somewhere and my son could care less. So now we’re going with toothbrushes. At least he doesn’t want to sleep with it!

What about your kids? What do they have for loveys?

Random Thoughts

Hard to say goodbye

A peek of a cloth diaper while sunning his legsI just dropped off my complete cloth diaper stash to be sold on consignment at the local Just Between Friends sale.

When you participate in these events, you place your items on the shop floor yourself. Last night, I had to tear myself away. My husband called to see if I was alright because I was taking so long.

After I had all my other baby items set up in the appropriate spots, I returned to see my diapers – twice. The second time, I went through them all lovingly and made sure they were displayed in the best way possible. I didn’t want to say goodbye.

I felt a little weepy over it all. And honestly, I was feeling foolish, too. Crying over diapers (almost)? Come on!

But these diapers had been a labor of love, as so much baby stuff is. I spent hours poring over websites, reading reviews, and waiting for sales, until I cultivated the cutest, fluffiest, most comfortable and convenient bunch of baby diapers I could find. All for my tiny little baby.

There was a minky tiger striped pocket diaper. Another that was made of denim with real pockets on the back! And one that was a deep, intense purple. They were so soft. There was bamboo, organic cotton, hemp, some cherished wool pieces, and a few fleece-lined diapers. I probably had more than I needed. (Here’s my diaper stash in the early days.)

I guess cloth diapers were an obsession for me.

But each diaper had a time when it played favorite and earned its price tag. Even prefolds and flats had their utilitarian role, amazing me with their resilience and lack of staining month after month.

As I left the sale setup area, I wished I had taken a photo of all my diapers together. Then I realized I barely had any photos of my son wearing them! Yikes! I had tucked away one newborn diaper from his tiniest days, but that’s it. The rest are likely gone forever now.

I was panicking on my way home. What if people take them out of their packages and the inserts get lost? Should I go check on them during the sale? Could I go back and grab them all up? Right now?

Should I have just kept my favorites as keepsakes? No. I had decided when I invested in cloth diapers that they were to be resold. Besides, then I’d have to keep them all. (I’m not a hoarder, really!)

I also realized this is just part of letting your baby grow up.

He’s mostly out of diapers now. In fact, I keep him in Blueberry Training Pants most of the time. But this event made me – insanely – wish he would still be in diapers. What mother wishes THAT?

Yeah, it was time to let go.

What about you? Doesn’t every mother have something of her baby’s she cherishes and holds dear forever?

P.S. I’ve heard our cute baby hats make great keepsakes, too!

Newborn Madness

Does your baby look like you? Does it matter?

The blogger and her familyA neighbor once told me very directly – almost accusingly – “You know, your son looks nothing like you.”

It hurt a bit. I’m not really sure why. It’s a fact, after all, sort of like saying “his hair is brown”.

I know we don’t look alike at all. I love that he looks like a complete, tiny replica of my husband.

Yet there’s a nagging feeling that our son is mine, too, so why can’t anyone see me in him? (It’s there! Really, if you look closely, you can see he has a small patch of red hairs, maybe 5 or 10, right in the midst of his deep chocolaty brown head of hair.)

As fate would have it, our second son looks just like me. In fact, the nurse in the hospital referred to him as a “little white boy”, pretty much counting out my husband’s Indian heritage.

My husband figures that the first child always looks like the father, at least at first. It’s an ancient evolutionary fact, he says, that keeps the dad around. The thought is that if the child looks like the dad, it serves as confirmation he’s the real father, preserving the family.

I’m skeptical. I don’t know that you can tell who a newborn looks like. Though I’m a mother two times over, most newborns look the same to me. It’s after a few weeks when their features start to become more distinct, I feel.

Regardless, now my husband and I joke that we each have one. The funny thing is, though, the little boy who looks like his dad seems to have his mom’s personality while the one who looks like mom acts like dad through and through in his mannerisms.

And in the end, it doesn’t matter one bit who each of our children looks like. We love them just the same and wouldn’t want them to look any different.

What about your family?