What should my baby wear to bed in different temperatures?

baby clothes for temperature

by Emily Gilbert |
Updated

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?

We all want a good night's sleep for both us and our baby, so when it comes to dressing your little one for bed, you want to know you're making sure they'll remain as comfortable as possible in the night. The main thing to remember is that simple is safest. What you choose to dress them in will really depend on the weather and how warm or cold their room gets in the night. Here, we've listed all the different options to consider when dressing your baby for bed.

Sleeping bags

Babies do not need to sleep under a toddler duvet until they are older and be sure you don't overdo the blankets as little legs can kick loose blankets off, so avoid using them and use swaddles or sleeping bags instead. These are safe, wearable blankets designed to provide some warmth without risking your baby's head getting covered by a blanket. Available in a range of different togs, they're suited to keep you baby snug in a range of seasons.

Sleepsuits

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. Sleepsuits are available in a variety of styles and fabric to help you find the best for your little one.

Blankets and accessories

While we'd advise sticking to a sleeping bag, if you do need to use a blanket, make sure it's a lightweight cellular blanket as recommended by the NHS. Make sure any blankets are firmly tucked in below baby's shoulders to avoid it coming up over their face.

"It is important to make sure your baby is positioned with their feet at the bottom of their cot." Says Midwife Pip. "You should make sure blankets only go as far as baby’s chest and their head is always uncovered and are tucked in to help it stay in place. Cellular blankets are a great option for breathability." She continues.

When it comes to swaddling your baby for bedtime, it really does depend what your baby finds most comfortable. According to Midwife Pip, "Some newborns really like being swaddled; others do not so be led by your baby. It is important to stop swaddling when your baby shows signs of rolling and to not swaddle if you are sharing a bed with your baby. Your baby should be swaddled securely to prevent material coming loose and risking baby’s face being covered. To swaddle, ensure you use materials such as a thin muslin or thin cot sheet, not blankets. If swaddling, then do not use any extra bedding or blankets as this risks overheating.

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.

What should my baby wear to bed
©Mother&Baby

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.

What should baby wear to bed if they don't like their sleeping bag?

We get that not every baby will find a sleeping bag all that comfortable, so if you can't get them to settle in one, then it's okay to use a blanket.

"Many parents like using a sleeping bag for peace of mind and ease but you don’t have to, if your baby doesn’t like a sleeping bag you can opt to use blankets instead but never use both as this is an overheating risk for baby." Says Midwife Pip. If you are using a blanket, make sure its a cellular blanket as these are the most breathable. You should also avoid folding a blanket in two as it could cause them to overheat.

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."

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.

Other signs your baby is too hot are:

• Damp hair from sweat

• Flushed cheeks

• Rapid breathing

• Heat rash

Baby clothes for temperature, from babygrows to sleeping bags

Super soft organic cotton and stretchy sustainable bamboo fabric allows your little one to move freely while keeping them cool at night. Bamboo regulates the body temperature of little ones so that they can have a good sleep. Organic cotton products are softer and safer for the skin, as the fibres are much longer, compared to regular cotton.
Bebekish also sell a range of 100% bamboo muslins, perfect for swaddling.

SleepsuitsH&M
Price: £15.99

www2.hm.com

These all-in-one sleep suits with full feet are made with soft 100% organic cotton jersey will keep newborns cosy at night when sleeping safely in their cot. Also available in other designs but we personally love the white designs, especially if you don't know if you're having a boy or girl yet.

Beautiful and made from organic materials for the softest and safest sleep. This sleepsuit comes in loads of colours and features a zip-up front for easy nappy changes during the night.

Recommended
Tommee Tippee Baby Sleeping Bag for NewbornsTommee Tippee 

This Ollie the Owl GroBag is perfect for little ones to sleep in at night, as you won't have to worry about your baby kicking off their blanket. Available in different tog sizes to suit different weather.

Suitable for newborns from 15 days up to 3 months, babies will feel comfortable and safe in the newborn swaddle bag. Made from bamboo and organic cotton, the soft material is gentle on little one's skin and is allergy friendly. It's a safe and comforting way of replicating the womb's natural cuddle.

The transition from sleeping bag to arms out sleeping can be tricky for some parents and babies, that's where the Butterfly Cardi comes in. It's designed to help you through the rolling stage which can understandably be worrying for parents when it comes to safe sleep. Made to be worn over their sleeping bag, it's designed to provide a gradual transition to arms out for your baby.

Our mum tester said: "The ErgoPouch Butterfly Cardi is an absolute must when transitioning from swaddling to arms out. My daughter had been using the ErgoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Bag since newborn but from four months she was showing signs of rolling. The Butterfly Cardi has helped us transition smoothly and safely from arms in to arms out with the use of the simple guide on the packaging. The super soft and lightweight cardi can be used over any sleeping bag but is also perfect for hotter days when a swaddle bag is too much."

Pros

  • Great for rolling babies
  • Ideal for transition to arms out sleeping

Cons

  • Not suitable as baby gets stronger

Sometimes, nothing beats a simple white vest for your baby. These body suits are not only great for summer sleeping, but they're great for layering in the winter months too. These baby bodysuits have been cleverly designed with flat seams to prevent irritation as well as easy poppers.

About 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 Gilbertis 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.

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