The question of ‘What should my baby wear to bed’ may seem simple for many, but for new parents getting advice from here there and everywhere, it can be a minefield. Especially if we're going through a cold snap or a summer heatwave.
As young babies are unable to regulate their body temperature and release heat rapidly, it's normal and perfectly justified to worry that your little one may become too hot or too cold.
From knowing what tog size sleep bags to buy, to where they should sleep, to how many layers your newborn should be wearing to sleep depending on the temperature – there's a lot to think about when it comes to safe baby sleep. So, here’s our guide to what your baby should wear at night, so both you and your baby can (hopefully) get a peaceful night’s sleep and baby will hopefully sleep through the night.
Check your baby's room temperature
The temperature of your baby’s room is the biggest indicator of what your little one should wear when it’s time for bed. According to The Lullaby Trust, your baby's room should be kept between 16-20°C. At this temperature, your baby should wear a vest, sleepsuit and have a lightweight sleeping bag.
The best way of checking your baby's room temperature is using a baby room thermometer in your baby’s room. This will help you determine what they should wear at night.
What should my baby wear to bed?
When dressing your little one, remember that simple is safest. Babies do not need to sleep under a toddler duvet until they are older. Don't overdo the blankets as little legs can kick loose blankets off, so avoid using them and use swaddles or sleep bags or swaddles instead.
Your little one will also need more layers depending on how cold it is. If it's below 20 degrees, layer up your newborn with a sleepsuit. It's important to remember not to dress your baby in a hat or gloves for bedtime, even in cold weather, and during the summer months don't overdress them, as this can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
"Changeable weather might mean we need to check what we are dressing our babies in at night," says Midwife Pip, practising Midwifery Sister and mum. "Here is guidance on what layers to use for each room temperature:"
Under 16 degrees: 2.5 Tog Sleeping Bag + Sleepsuit + Vest
17°c- 20°c: 2.5 Tog Sleeping Bag + Sleepsuit
20°c- 22°c: 1 Tog Sleeping Bag + Sleepsuit
22°c- 24°c: Sleepsuit
24°c- 27°c: Vest +/- 0.5 Tog Sleeping Bag
Over 27°c: Nappy
"Remember: use a Sleeping Bag OR a Blanket, not both," reminds Pip.
How to dress your baby in hot temperatures
• Take away any layers - one layer should be enough for your baby.
• Look for thinner fabrics like a thinner sleep bag or vest.
• During the day, make sure your baby's head is covered, they're kept out of direct sun and that they wear a pair of sunglasses if possible to avoid overheating.
How to dress your baby in cold temperatures
• Layer up with cotton layers, like a vest, sleepsuit and sleep bag as heat will be trapped between these layers.
• In the day, make sure they are wearing mittens, gloves, hat if needed.
• Don't forget about blankets on your daily walks.
How do I know if my baby is too hot?
To check if your baby is too hot, The Lullaby Trust say to "put your hand on the skin on their chest or the back of their neck."
Other signs your baby is too hot are:
• Damp hair
• Flushed cheeks
• Rapid breathing
• Heat rash
If your little one feels hot to touch, start by taking a layer off of them and check them again in 10 minutes. You can always open a window slightly to help air circulate, too.
When checking to see how hot your baby is, remember not to check their hands or feet as these are often a lot cooler than the rest of their body.
Baby clothes for temperature, from babygrows to sleeping sacks
Super soft organic cotton and stretchy sustainable bamboo fabric allows your little one to move
These footless all-in-one pyjamas made with soft organic cotton jersey will keep newborns cosy at
Beautiful and made from organic materials for the softest and safest sleep. This sleepsuit comes
This Ollie the Owl GroBag is perfect for little ones to sleep in at night, as you won't have to
Suitable for newborns from 15 days up to 3 months, babies will feel comfortable and safe in the
The transition from sleeping bag to arms out sleeping can be tricky for some parents and babies,
- Great for rolling babies
- Ideal for transition to arms out sleeping
- Not suitable as baby gets stronger
It's a great idea to have a good stock of sleeveless vests for your baby, especially in the summer
Sometimes, nothing beats a simple white vest for your baby. These body suits are not only great
Meet the expert
Midwife Pip is a truly passionate midwife and advocate for the profession, bursting with knowledge. Pip is an experienced, practising Midwifery Sister, MSc graduate, founder of Midwife Pip Podcast, Hypnobirthing and Antenatal Educator, co-author of published research and a mum.
Emily Gilbert is the Features & Reviews Editor for Mother&Baby and has written for the website and previously the magazine for six years. Specialising in product reviews, Emily is the first to know about all the exciting new releases in the parenting industry.