The weather is turning colder at night. You might be adding blankets to your bed or wearing warmer pajamas to stay comfortable.
The big question is: How should you dress your baby at night?
Your baby is not able to tell you if they are too warm or too cold so it always a guessing game to figure it out. Here are some tips to help you.
The best way to check if your little one is the correct temperature is to put your hand on the child’s chest. Does their chest feel comfortable and warm? It should not be hot or cool to your touch. Touching your baby’s hands and feet is not a good way to determine if your child is warm enough. When our babies are born they have very poor circulation in their hands and feet which makes the hands and feet feel cold to your touch. Sometimes the extremities can even look slightly blue. As the child grows the circulation improves. Do not use their hands and feet as a guide for how many layers of clothes to put on your child.
If your baby is cold during the night, sleep may be more difficult. It is worse to make your baby too warm for sleep. Keep in mind that babies heat up faster than adults and have a more difficult time bringing down their body temperature. Avoid overheating your baby because it is a possible contributing factors to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
The ideal room temperature for sleeping is 67-72 degrees. Adjust the heat in your home to keep your baby’s room within that range during the night.
When dressing your baby the easy rule to go by is:
Put one more layer on your baby than you put on yourself.
If you are adding a blanket to your bed, it probably means you need to add another layer to your baby. To promote a safe sleeping environment you should not add a loose blanket to your baby’s bed. Your baby needs to wear their blanket.
A swaddle type blanket which contains the arms is helpful for a baby who is not able to roll over. The swaddle blankets are available in different types of fabric. Fleece or a warmer fabric is best during the cold months.
When your baby learns how to roll over, it is not safe to continue to use a swaddle which contains the arms. At that age it is better to dress your baby in a sleep sack which allows their arms to be free.
You can add layers under the swaddle or sleep sack according to the temperature. Inside the swaddle or sleep sack you will probably have a onesie and a gown or sleeper of a warm fabric during the colder months. The sleeper or gown under the sleep sack should have long sleeves to cover the arms.
It is not recommended to put a hat on your baby at night. There is the possibility the hat could slide over your baby’s face and cover their nose and/or mouth.
Here is a quick guide to use in choosing how many layers to put on your baby at night.
Arlene is a registered nurse and certified infant and child sleep consultant. It is her passion to help families get the sleep each person (big or small) needs. Contact me for questions or help with sleep.