Bringing a baby home is a time of joy. You may have put lots of thought into planning things for your love bug before they arrive, however, there are certain questions to be asked and things to learn. One of them is to learn how to keep the baby safe and comfortable during sleep time.
Parents work tirelessly to make sure their bundle of joy is happy and comfortable, from feeding them to checking to see if their diaper is dirty, to confirm that the baby is not feeling too hot or too cold. And being that newborns are tiny, it’s not easy to feel confident about what’s right for them and what’s wrong. Something as simple as picking a bodysuit for your pint-sized peanut can feel like a hard thing to do when you’re a fatigued newly minted parent.
The point is - putting your baby in the right clothes for bed is like fixing breakfast for Goldilocks – not too hot and not too cold! Fortunately, we have put together a few expert tips and basic guidelines to give your baby a safe, comfortable night of slumber.
Can babies regulate their body temperatures?
The truth is that babies need help to regulate their body temperature. These tiny bundles of joy come into the world clueless, and one thing for them to learn is how to control their body temperature. Too cold, they will cry, too hot and they are at risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and overheating. The result = sleepless baby and a sleepless you!
So how can you tell if your baby is feeling warm or cold?
Some signs of an overheated baby include sweating, flushed cheeks, and warmth to the touch. When checking their body temperature, you will want them to be somewhere around 36.4C, but this can vary slightly. A fever is usually considered when your baby’s body temperature is 39C or above.
You will also want to make sure your little darling is not too cold. If you noticed a slightly blueish tinge on your infant’s hands and feet, don’t fret, just add a layer. Those tiny fingers and toes should return to their rosy colour in no time. Research also suggests that babies who suffer to put on weight could be because of being too cold. All the calories they consume are working too hard to keep them warm instead of helping them grow.
When selecting clothes for your baby, pay attention to the TOG rating. Some baby garments, swaddles, and sleeping bags come with a TOG (thermal overall grade) rating that tells you how warm they might be.
Some basic rules to follow
Perhaps, you’ve heard about the general rule of thumb when dressing your baby for bed. Dress your bub in one additional layer than you would wear at night. Babies should stay away from blankets or loose sheets at night, opt for a baby sleeping bag instead to give your little one a good night’s sleep. Generally, a bodysuit should suffice in warmer months. For winter opt for a bodysuit and a sleepsuit.
However, this rule is just to give you a basic idea. You will have to make a judgment according to your baby’s sleeping environment or you could remove some of the guesswork by testing the temperature of the nursery. The ideal room temperature should be between 16-20 degrees Celsius. Use this temperature as a guide and remember that the temperature keeps changing so adjust accordingly by adding or removing a layer. Ideally, you can use a bamboo baby bodysuit for temperatures between 17C to 21C and a bamboo baby bodysuit + bamboo baby sleepsuit for colder nights ranging from 16C and below.
Keep in mind that it is much easier to warm a baby up than cool them down that is why it is recommended to avoid overdressing the baby. While old-school parenting was all about dressing a baby in many layers, it can lead to overheating and has been linked with SIDS.
Signs of overheating in a baby:
- Sweaty or clammy skin including hair, neck, back, and chest
- Heat rash
- Flushed skin and warm to the touch
- Rapid heartbeat and breathing
Remove at least one layer of clothing if you see any of these signs and try to move to a cooler location.
Knowing the dangers of overheating puts pressure on parents when they’re preparing their baby to go to sleep. But sweat not- seriously! Think of the golden rule we mentioned earlier, dress your baby the same way you want to be dressed. In other words, think about how you hit the bed in the hotter months. With a fan on, light clothes, and away from heavy blankets, right? This means, your newborn will feel the same way in thin layers. Make them wear a bodysuit or. A zip-up sleep suit, or a sleeping bag crafted with super soft bamboo fabric which ensures a more comfortable sleep for your baby.
Bamboo is one of the softest and most breathable fabrics you can find for your baby which can help with temperature regulation making it ideal for your baby's delicate skin.
Bamboo is one of the softest and most breathable fabrics you can find for your baby which can help with temperature regulation and is ideal for your baby's delicate skin.
Is it safe to use a baby sleeping bag?
To keep your child warm and cosy it’s wise to use a sleeping bag. Infants respond well to sleeping in a sleeping bag, typically when you use a sleeping bag every night, it becomes a positive sleep association. The sleeping bag becomes a loveable item to them at a young age, which makes sleeping much easier even when they’re out and about.
You can start using a sleeping bag from birth. If you’re concerned about your baby being cold at night, a premium sleeping bag made with bamboo will help to tick that box of doubt. A sleeping bag made with bamboo is super soft and thermoregulating and stays with your baby as they move and the risk of them being kicked off or their legs getting cold is taken away (its best to get a sleeping bag with an underarm safety button that ensures that your baby doesn't slip down inside the bag and you can be confident that your little one is cosy and safe) There are different TOG sleeping bags available however if you are following HSE guidelines and maintaining your baby's room temperature at a range of 16°C to 20°C then a 2.5 TOG sleeping bag is ideal.
Are there any signs of temperature discomfort?
The good news is, that your baby will let you know if the sleeping temperature is right or wrong. Babies show their discomfort by finding a way to communicate. Some signs that your newborn might be telling you that they are feeling uncomfortable include:
- Fussy and crying more than usual, particularly in the middle of the night
- Not willing to feed
- Frequent wakeups
- Shorter naps
- Awake but feeling lethargic
Is it okay to make a baby wear a hat during bedtime?
Babies control their temperature mainly through their heads. It is recommended to put your baby to bed on their back with their head and face uncovered. Save the hats for your Instagram photo shoots because they’re not meant to be used for sleep.
Dressing your tot for bed safely is the number 1 priority. But it’s worth mentioning a few safe sleep recommendations other than clothing:
- Babies should always sleep on their backs.
- Babies should sleep on a flat, firm surface such as a crib mattress. It is not recommended to make them sleep on an adult mattress or a baby swing.
- Remove soft bedding, bumpers, stuffed toys, and blankets from the crib. There should be nothing other than your baby and a pacifier (if they take one) in the crib. Pacifiers may even reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Remove hats, booties, socks, or mittens because they could fall off during sleep.
- Layer according to the room temperature. Use a 2.5 TOG sleeping bag and bodysuit for temperatures between 17C to 21C and a bodysuit, sleepsuit, and 2.5 TOG sleeping bag for 16C-.
Follow the tips covered in this article to put your baby to bed safely, and you will be good to go. Dressing them appropriately, maintaining a comfortable temperature, and keeping them safe and cosy in a sleeping bag is sure to give your baby a restful night of zzzzz!
Prioritize safety and keep reevaluating things as your bub grows. Keep experimenting with new clothing items to see what works for your child, and remember better sleep is around the corner for you and your bubby. ❤❤❤