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 how to dress a baby for sleep, both in the summer and winter.
In this article 📝
- What should my baby wear to sleep?
- How to dress baby for sleep in summer
- How to dress baby for sleep in winter
- Understanding the risk of SIDS
What should my baby wear to sleep?
What do newborns sleep in?
Keep it simple—light pajamas, a onesie, or a light sleepsack or swaddle.
If your baby is in a cold room, you can layer two or more of these options, such as light pajamas under a sleepsack.
Skip the hats, socks, heavy pajamas or sleep sacks, 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 end up covering their nose or mouth.
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 68° and 72°F.
By checking how warm their room is using a thermostat or thermometer, you can work out if you need to add or remove a layer of their clothing.
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 clothing. If they feel colder than usual, you might want to add another layer.
How to dress baby for sleep in summer
It can be confusing 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 breezy clothing.
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? Is it OK to wrap a baby to sleep?
When it comes to dressing your 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.
While newborns usually enjoy being swaddled (it replicates being held tightly, helping them feel safe and calm), 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 is ideal during the summer months.
Remember that swaddling is no longer considered a safe option once your baby can roll over, due to the increased risk of suffocation.
If swaddling works for you, you might find that sleep sacks for older babies are an effective alternative once they start rolling over.
How to dress baby for sleep in winter
When putting a baby down to sleep in winter, it can be tempting to wrap them up in layers of blankets to keep them cozy and snug.
When dressing your baby for sleep during the winter months, a cotton all-in-one sleepsuit with the feet attached (aka, “feety pajamas”) is a great option.
Some sleepsuits even have mittens that are useful during those particularly chilly nights.
Fleece PJs are also a good option for winter since they’re very warm without adding much bulk. Wool 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.
Understanding the risk of SIDS
When deciding how to dress a newborn for sleep, you must consider the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Overheating can increase the chances of SIDS, so you must dress them appropriately 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 do I know if my baby is overheating?
Common signs that your baby may be overheating include:
- They feel warm to the touch.
- They breathe rapidly.
- 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.
In time, you’ll learn to trust your mama instincts and feel more confident when choosing their bedtime attire.
And if you’re ever unsure, reach out to the community on Peanut.
😴 More on baby sleep from The 411:
How Much Do Newborns Sleep? A Rough Guide
5 Things I Wish I Knew About Baby Sleep as a First-Time Mama
5 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Blame for Bad Baby Sleep
How to Get Babies to Nap Longer: The Ultimate Guide
Baby Sleep Training 101
Is White Noise for a Baby Good?
Babies Waking Up Too Early: What to do
Managing The 4-Month Sleep Regression: Your Expert Guide
How Safe Is Co-Sleeping?
How to Get Your Baby to Sleep in a Crib
When Do Kids Stop Taking Naps?