How to Dress a Baby for Sleep: Baby Sleep Clothing

How to Dress a Baby for Sleep: Baby Sleep Clothing

This article was written in paid partnership with Swedish childrenswear experts PO.P.

Wondering how to dress a baby for sleep?

It’s all about function over fashion ‒ baby’s temperature is key.

Making sure your baby isn’t too hot or cold at bedtime can be a delicate balancing act.

A few degrees one way or the other, and you’ve got a fussy customer on your hands.

Fortunately, knowing how to dress a newborn for sleep can help restore calm.

Wrapping them in layers of fitted clothing means you can quickly add to (or take away from) their sleepy time outfit as the temperature in their room changes.

Read on to discover what baby should wear to sleep, both in the summer and winter.

In this article: 📝

  • What should baby be dressed in to sleep?
  • How many layers should I dress my baby in at night?
  • How to dress baby for sleep in summer
  • How should I dress my newborn to sleep in winter?
  • How do you know if baby is cold at night?
  • What should a baby be covered with at night?
  • The risk of SIDS when dressing baby for sleep
  • How much do baby sleep clothes cost?

What should baby be dressed in to sleep?

How do you go about dressing baby for sleep?

The general advice is to keep it simple ‒ light pajamas or a onesie, a light sleep sack, or a swaddle.

If your baby is in a cold room, you can layer two or more of these options, such as light pajamas under a sleep sack.

Skip the hats, socks, heavy pajamas, and blankets (or any other loose bedding).

Babies up to 12 months old are surprisingly susceptible to overheating, which is a risk factor for SIDS, and loose bedding can get tangled around their neck or cover their nose or mouth.

How should I dress my baby for sleep based on TOG rating?

Most sleep sacks come with a TOG rating.

TOG stands for “thermal overall grade” and is a unit of measurement for insulation and warmth of sleepwear and bedding.

Put simply, the lower the TOG rating, the lighter the fabric; the higher the rating, the more padded and insulated it is.

Baby sleep expert, Alicia Dyshon, says “Generally speaking, in the warmer months or if your home runs hot (69-73F or 21-23C), you want a sleep sack with a TOG rating 0.5-1 max and 1.5-2.5 TOG rating in colder months or if your home runs cold (61-68 F or 16-20C), depending on what you are dressing them in underneath.”

Want more on what to dress baby in under a sleep sack based on TOG rating? Check out her in-depth video.

How to dress baby for sleep in a 70-degree room

Some rooms are warmer than others.

Ideally, babies should sleep in a room where the temperature sits comfortably between 64° and 72°F (18°C-22°C).

By checking how warm their room is using a thermostat or thermometer, you can work out if you need to change how you’re dressing baby for sleep.

You can also check if your baby is too hot or too cold by simply feeling the back of their neck.

If their skin feels hot or sweaty, remove one or more layers of baby sleep clothing.

If they feel colder than usual, you might want to add another layer.

How to dress newborn for sleep

Now, what to dress newborn in for sleep?

If you’ve just welcomed your little one into the world (hi, baby!), you might not be sure what baby sleep clothing is appropriate for newborns.

Stick with something simple like a onesie and add a swaddle or sleep sack. This sleepsuit from PO.P is perfect, as it’s made from soft 100% organic cotton, so it’s guaranteed to be gentle on your baby’s delicate skin.

If they’re too hot, choose pajamas and swaddling cloths with a lighter fabric, light cotton, or muslin or a sleep sack with a lower TOG rating of 0.5-1.

If they’re too cold, go for a onesie and a warmer swaddling cloth or sleep sack with a higher TOG rating of 1.5-2.5.

Not sure if they’re too hot?

They may be squirming a lot or clammy to the touch.

If they’re too cold, they may also be wriggling about or feel a little cold to the touch.

How many layers should I dress my baby in at night?

So how many layers should a newborn sleep in?

Ideally, experts recommend one to two layers are best for dressing baby for sleep at night.

But Alicia Dyshon says it also “depends on what the TOG rating is of your sleep sack or how light your swaddle is”.

How to dress baby for sleep in summer

It can be confusing when thinking about how to dress a baby for sleep in the summer.

We all love the look of a cozy, bundled-up baby, but it can be dangerous for a newborn to get too hot while sleeping.

On summer nights, dress your baby in light and loose clothing ‒ but not loose enough to cover their face if baby moves in the night.

Usually, a short-sleeved cotton bodysuit or t-shirt with a sleep sack over them is adequate. If the temperature is particularly high, ditch the sleep sack.

Should I swaddle my baby?

When it comes to dressing baby for sleep in summer, you may be wondering if you can swaddle them.

Swaddling means wrapping them up like an adorable little burrito for bedtime.

Not all babies need to be swaddled or benefit from being swaddled, so it’s best to follow your baby’s lead.

While newborns usually enjoy being swaddled (it replicates being held tightly, which can turn on their calming reflex), it’s essential to do so safely during hot weather.

Choose a lightweight and breathable fabric for swaddling to prevent overheating.

A wrap made from 100% cotton or muslin is ideal during the summer months.

Alicia Dyshon stresses moms to “remember that swaddling is no longer considered a safe option once your baby can roll over, due to the increased risk of suffocation. Once your baby reaches this milestone you might find that a sleep sacks is an effective alternative.”

How should I dress my newborn to sleep in winter?

When dressing baby for sleep in winter, it can be tempting to wrap them up in layers of blankets to keep them cozy and snug.

However, since babies younger than nine months can’t yet control their body temperature, they mustn’t become too hot.

When dressing baby for sleep during the winter months, a cotton all-in-one sleepsuit with the feet attached (aka, “footy pajamas”) is a great option.

Some sleepsuits even have mittens that are useful during those particularly chilly nights.

Wool, bamboo or Tencel pajamas are also a good ‒ though expensive ‒ alternative.

Can my baby wear a hat for bed?

Since babies cool themselves by releasing heat from their heads, hats and beanies should be avoided all year round for sleep.

Not only can babies easily overheat if they go to sleep wearing a hat, but it can also be a choking or suffocation hazard if it falls off and covers their face.

Keep your baby’s head uncovered during sleep, even during the coldest nights of the year.

Can babies sleep in onesies?

Yes, when dressing baby for sleep, you can opt for a onesie like PO.P’s striped sleepsuit.

Consider what the temperature in the room is ‒ if it’s colder, a thicker onesie or a layer underneath could be a good idea, and if it’s warmer, a lightweight onesie is best.

Should baby sleep in fleece?

Let’s check in with Alicia Dyshon on this one: “Generally speaking, I don’t recommend fleece as it is not breathable and the risk of overheating is much higher. It makes it difficult to regulate temperatures, which babies under 9 months are unable to do.”

Instead of dressing baby in fleece for sleep, Alicia recommends “cotton, bamboo or Tencel fabric for sleep and using a sleep sack over top” to keep babe cozy.

Should babies wear socks while sleeping?

Babies can wear socks while sleeping, but only if their feet are cold.

Try lying down with no socks on and see if your feet are cold ‒ if yours are, baby’s will be, too!

Can my baby just wear a sleeper to bed?

If you’re not sure how to dress a baby for sleep, a sleeper or onesie can be a great option.

If it’s on the chilly side, consider adding a sleep sack.

If they’re warm, make sure the sleeper is cotton or another lightweight material.

Can baby sleep only in pajamas?

Yes, baby can sleep in just pajamas, as long as they’re comfortable and at the right temperature.

Can baby wear a sleepsuit in sleep sack?

Yes, if the weather is cold, and baby’s room is a little nippy, it’s fine to dress baby in a sleepsuit and pop them in a sleep sack.

If you’re worried about baby overheating, check on them regularly and check their temperature either with a thermometer or by putting your hand on the back of their neck or their tummy ‒ they should be warm to the touch ‒ not hot or cold.

How do you know if baby is cold at night?

When it comes to how to dress a baby for sleep, knowing whether they’re cold or not is key.

But there are some tell-tale signs that baby is too cold in their baby sleepwear:

  • They feel cold on their tummy or the back of their neck.
  • They’re crying and look uncomfortable.

It’s totally normal for baby to have colder hands and feet, but if they’re very cold or changing color, it could be another sign to add another layer of baby sleep clothing.

If you’re really not sure, get a thermometer ‒ 64° and 72°F (18°C-22°C) is ideal.

And try sitting in baby’s room with a similar amount of layers that baby’s wearing. If you’re cold, baby’s cold.

Is it OK if my baby’s hands are cold at night?

Yes, it’s totally normal for baby’s hands to be colder than the rest of their body ‒ their body is still growing to regulate their temperature all over.

If you think baby might be too cold, check their temperature on their tummy or the back of their neck instead.

How do I know baby is warm enough at night?

The best way to tell if baby is warm enough in their baby sleep clothing at night is to check their temperature ‒ not necessarily with a thermometer, but by putting your hand on the back of their neck.

Their skin should be warm to the touch ‒ about the same temperature as your hands (if you feel warm enough!).

How do I know if my baby is overheating?

Common signs that your baby may be overheating in their baby sleepwear include:

  • They feel hot to the touch.
  • They breathe rapidly.
  • They feel clammy.
  • They have a fever.
  • Their heart rate increases.
  • They are unresponsive.

If you’re worried that your baby is overheating, you can:

  • Slowly remove layers of clothing or covering.
  • Lower the thermostat.
  • Move them to a cooler room.
  • Offer them fluids. If they’re younger than six months, stick to breastmilk or formula instead of water.
  • Wipe them down with a lukewarm or cool cloth. Don’t use one that’s too cold, as this can be too much of a shock to their little systems.

If things don’t improve quickly, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Knowing how to dress a baby for sleep at any time of the year can be challenging.

However, a home thermostat or thermometer can help you figure out what to dress them in to keep them comfortable no matter the season.

What should a baby be covered with at night?

It’s best to avoid loose blankets when dressing baby for sleep, so their head won’t get covered and they won’t get tangled.

So how do you go about dressing baby for sleep to keep them warm enough without a blanket, especially in the winter months?

According to Alicia Dyshon, a sleep sack is your best option here, if they’re too cold in their onesie at night.

But it’s recommended to avoid blankets altogether until they’re at least 12 months old, due to the risk of suffocation.

The risk of SIDS when dressing baby for sleep

We know this is a scary thought, mama, but unfortunately, it can happen, so it’s worth being prepared.

When deciding how to dress a newborn for sleep, it’s so important to consider the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Overheating can increase the chances of SIDS, so you must dress them in appropriate baby sleep clothing for both the season and temperature of their room.

To lower the chances of overheating, dress your baby in light, comfortable clothes for sleep, slowly increasing the number of layers as the temperature drops.

How much do baby sleep clothes cost?

It’s true, baby clothes can cost a small fortune.

After all, baby grows out of 5 clothing sizes in their first year alone!

The turnover is high, so it’s important to go with sustainable baby clothes brands wherever possible.

Wanna know a sustainability life hack?

PO.P will buy back your baby’s sleepsuit once they’ve outgrown it, as part of their second-hand scheme, which means every garment they make can be worn by three children or more!

Plus, their Roll down cuffs allow extra room for baby to grow. What’s not to love?

In time, you’ll learn to trust your mama instincts and feel more confident when planning how to dress a baby for sleep.

And if you’re ever unsure, reach out to our Peanut Community for advice or simply to talk to other moms who get it.

They’ve got your back.

Sweet dreams, mama! 😴


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