How to Dress a Baby for Sleep: The Ultimate Guide

  • By: Gian
  • Date: June 8, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

There are so many decisions to make when it comes to taking care of a new baby. One of the most important is how to dress them for sleep. If you get it wrong, your little one could be uncomfortable and may not be able to get a good night’s sleep.

As a general rule, you should put one more layer on your baby than an adult would need in the same environment. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep without a blanket to lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

What Should an Infant Wear During Sleep?

Dressing baby appropriately provides a safe sleeping environment for your little one, especially during her first night at home. Most infants do well when they are swaddled. The snug bundling method can help infants feel safe and calm as if they were back in the womb.

Cotton or muslin is a good choice because it is light and breathable and has enough give to make wrapping and tucking easy.

If you’re not sure how to swaddle your child, there are plenty of instructional videos and articles online. You can also ask your pediatrician or a nurse at the hospital for help. Swaddling is not recommended for babies who are older than four months, as they may be able to roll over.

How to Dress Baby for Sleep Without Swaddle?

So, how to dress a baby without a swaddle? If you’re not comfortable with swaddling, you can try a sleep sack or sleeping bag.

Sleep sacks are loose-fitting garments that zip up or button closed, and they keep the baby’s arms and legs covered while allowing them to move their hips and thighs. This can be helpful for babies who startle themselves awake with their own jerky movements.

Look for a sack that is made of lightweight fabric and is the right size for your child. And since they’re not loose like blankets, there’s minimal risk of the baby’s face being covered when she sleeps.

Follow this rule of thumb when getting your child ready for bed: dress the baby in one more layer than you would be comfortable wearing at night in that room.

During the warmer weather, you might want to use a cotton onesie. In the winter, cooler weather, or colder months, choose a onesie with long sleeves or a warmer sleep sack with two-way zippers to make it convenient for diaper changes.

How to Dress Baby for Sleep in the Summer or Warmer Months?

On warm nights, keep it light and airy. Let your baby wear a basic bodysuit or T-shirt made of cotton or organic cotton with short sleeves and a muslin or cotton lightweight swaddle or sleep sack on top is fine.

Choose something that is snug fitting but made from breathable fabrics. If you’re using a sleep sack, make sure it has a thermal overall grade or TOG rating of 0.

If your baby is older than six months, you can also dress him or her in a lightweight cotton sleeper. Just be sure not to put anything over the sleeper since it can make your child too hot. And you can use an oscillating fan which can double as white noise.

If you’re using a fan or air conditioner in the room, keep it on low and directed away from the crib so it doesn’t blow directly on your baby. You should also check the temperature of the room to make sure it’s not too hot or humid.

Finally, don’t forget to dress yourself and your partner lightly as well! If you’re too hot, chances are your baby will be too.

How Do I Know if the Baby Is Cold at Night?

If you’re concerned about your baby being cold at night, there are a few things you can look for. First, check your baby’s hands and feet. If they feel cool to the touch or has red nose or cheeks, it’s a good idea to throw on an extra layer of clothing or blankets.

You can also check your baby’s chest and back to see if they’re hot to the touch. If your baby feels cold in any of these areas, it’s best to err on the side of caution and dress your baby with an additional layer.

The perfect room temperature for a baby  between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 to 22 degrees Celsius. It might be worth getting a room thermometer to monitor the room temperature.

Another way to tell if your baby is cold at night is by observing their sleeping patterns. If your baby is restless or wakes up frequently, it could be a sign that they’re too cold.

On the other hand, if your baby is sleeping soundly through the night, it’s likely that they’re comfortable and warm enough.

How Do You Know if the Baby Is Warm Enough to Sleep?

Putting your hand on your child’s chest is the best way to see if they are at the right temperature. Do they feel good and comfortably warm in their chest? A good indication is that it shouldn’t feel either hot or cold when you touch it.

You can’t tell if your baby is warm enough by touching his or her hands and feet because those extremities are often cooler than the rest of the body. The best way to keep your baby warm enough is to make sure that the room they are sleeping in is at a comfortable temperature for you – not too hot and not too cold.

You can also dress them in layers of clothes so that you can easily adjust if they seem too warm or too cold during the night. Of course, how many layers to put on your baby depends on the weather as well.

Finally, parents should make sure that their crib or bed is away from any drafts in the room. By following these simple tips, you can rest assured knowing that your baby is sleeping comfortably and safely.

Does a Baby Really Need a Sleep Sack or A Sleeping Bag?

There’s no doubt that sleep sacks are convenient. Sleep sacks can also help many babies keep their bodies at the right temperature without getting too hot from having too many blankets. If a baby gets too hot, they are more likely to die in their sleep.

If you don’t have a sleep sack or wearable blanket, your baby will be warm enough in just footie pajamas.

So while sleep sacks are certainly convenient, they’re not absolutely necessary. If you don’t own one, don’t worry.

What Is the Ideal Temperature for Babies?

As a parent, you want to do everything you can to ensure your baby is comfortable and safe. When it comes to sleep, one of the most important factors is temperature. So what is the ideal sleep temperature for babies?

According to experts, the ideal sleep temperature for babies is between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 to 22 degrees Celsius. This may seem a bit cooler than what you’re used to, but it’s actually the perfect temperature for your baby to sleep soundly and safely.

You should check your baby’s body temperature regularly especially if she has started sleeping in her own room. If your baby shows signs of heat stress such as clammy skin, remove extra bedding or layers of clothes. Offer breastmilk or water to help cool her down.

If she is cold or has a red nose, dress your baby with another layer of clothing to keep her warm.

Of course, every baby is different and you may need to experiment a bit to find the perfect temperature for your little one. But in general, the 68 to 72-degree range is ideal. So if you’re looking to create a comfortable and safe sleep environment for your baby, make sure the temperature is set in this range. Your baby (and you!) will thank you for it!

Should Babies Be Covered at Night?

The AAP, which provides trustworthy health information, says that for at least the earlier months or first year, babies should sleep in a bare crib. This suggestion is based on information about babies who died while sleeping and on guidelines for lowering the risk of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS.

Babies should not be covered at night because they are at an increased risk of suffocation. Soft items and loose bedding can block a baby’s airway and cause them to suffocate.

It is important to keep your baby’s sleeping area clean and free of clutter. Make sure that there are no pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals in the crib. If you are using a blanket, make sure that it is tucked securely under the mattress so that it cannot slip over the baby’s head.

Can a Baby Sleep With Hats On?

Babies cool themselves down by releasing heat from their heads and faces. That’s why it’s important to keep your baby’s head uncovered during sleep. Headwear in bed can also be a choking or suffocation hazard. So your baby should sleep with her face uncovered. Read our guide to can a baby wear a hat while sleeping.

Well, babies can quickly overheat if they fall asleep wearing hats, beanies and other head coverings. So it’s best to avoid headwear altogether to prevent overheating.

However, if it’s cold in your baby’s room, you can dress them in a sleepsack with a built-in hood. This will keep them warm and feel comfortable without the risk of suffocation.

Conclusion

Sleep research is changing all the time and thankfully for the better. And knowing how to dress a newborn baby for sleep in various temperatures is key to keeping her safe.

Although the AAP recommends that babies sleep without a blanket, there are other ways to keep your baby warm at night. You can put one more layer on your baby than an adult would need, and make sure the room is kept at a comfortable temperature. If you live in colder weather, you may also want to consider using blankets or sleeping bags made specifically for infants.