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What Should Baby Wear to Sleep?

Your guide to what baby should wear at night through every season!


As a parent, ensuring that your baby gets a good night's sleep is crucial for their comfort, well-being, and development. But as a new parent, I always found myself second-guessing if my baby was dressed properly throughout the night to keep them warm enough but not too hot, comfortable, and safe. So I want to provide valuable insights and guidelines on how to create a safe and comfortable sleep environment for your little one. From maintaining the right temperature to choosing appropriate sleepwear, we will cover all of the essential aspects for your baby's bedtime routine.


Temperature:

Baby pajama and baby sleep sack

First things first- maintaining an optimal temperature in your baby's sleep environment is vital. The ideal room temperature for babies to sleep in is between 68-72°F (20-22°C). This range helps prevent overheating or being too cold during their sleep. It is advisable to use a room thermometer to monitor the temperature accurately, and consider checking your baby's temperature with a digital thermometer occasionally. With this guideline in mind, we try to always keep our house at 70°F.


A baby's body temperature at night should generally be within a normal range of 97°F to 100.4°F (36.1°C to 38°C). But it's important to note that individual variations in body temperature can occur, and what is considered normal can vary slightly from one baby to another. Always talk to your pediatrician if you have questions about your baby's body temperature.


What Should Baby Wear to Sleep?

Choosing the right sleepwear for your baby can be a tricky question as you navigate as a new parent. I'm going to list various pajama essentials for each season. Please note that it's always important to consult with your own pediatrician to determine what is best for your child.

  • Fall/Winter: During colder months, it is important to keep babies warm and comfortable while they sleep. I found that dressing baby in a onesie with hand mittens with a fleece sleep sack over it keeps them nice and cozy, but not too hot. Ensure the room temperature is between 68-72°F (20-22°C) to prevent overheating. If you keep your house colder, I might opt for a fleece onesie with a fleece sleep sack over it. If your baby is older, this larger fleece sleep sack is nice.

  • Spring/Summer: As the weather starts to warm up, dress your baby in lighter layers. Opt for a comfortable cotton onesie or a lightweight onesie with hand covers. Then you can use a cotton sleep sack on top if you'd like. During the hot summer months, your baby will probably be okay just in the comfortable cotton onesie without a sleep sack. Maintain a comfortable room temperature between 68-72°F (20-22°C) to promote restful sleep.


Remember, these are general guidelines, and it's important to consider your baby's individual needs and preferences. Regularly check your baby's temperature to ensure they are not too hot or too cold. Additionally, always prioritize safe sleep practices, such as placing your baby on their back in a crib with a firm mattress and no loose bedding or pillows.


Bedtime Routine:

Establishing a consistent bedtime routine helps signal to your baby that it's time to sleep. A soothing routine can include activities such as a warm bath, gentle massage, reading a book, or singing lullabies. Keep the routine calm and predictable, so that your baby can wind down before sleep.


Monitoring Comfort:

Be sure to monitor your baby's comfort during sleep to ensure they are neither too hot nor too cold. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Touch their chest or back: If your baby feels warm and dry, they are likely comfortable. If they feel sweaty or clammy, they might be too hot. If their skin feels cold, they probably need a warmer pajama or an extra layer. Their tummy should feel warm to the touch.

  • Observe their behavior: A baby who is too hot may appear restless, flushed, or sweaty. Conversely, a baby who is too cold may seem fussy, have cold hands and feet, or have trouble settling.


Additional Bedtime Tips:

  • Ensure the crib mattress is firm and free from any loose bedding or any soft objects. We use the Newton Baby Bassinet and then transition to the Newton Baby waterproof crib mattress because it is 100% breathable, which helps ease anxiety as a mom.

  • Keep the sleep environment quiet, dark, and free from distractions.

  • Consider using a white noise machine to create a soothing background sound.


When Can Baby Sleep With a Blanket?

It is generally recommended to avoid placing pillows or blankets in the crib with a baby until they are at least one year old. This is because pillows and blankets can pose suffocation hazards for infants who are not yet able to move or reposition themselves easily. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that a bare crib, free of any loose bedding, is the safest sleep environment for babies.


Once your baby reaches the age of one and is able to move around more independently, you can introduce a small, lightweight blanket and a toddler-sized pillow if desired. However, it's important to ensure that the pillow is firm and not overly fluffy, and the blanket is lightweight and securely tucked in around the crib mattress.



What to do if Baby Gets Hands and Feet Through Crib Slats?

  • Assess the crib: Check the spacing between the slats to ensure they meet safety standards. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that the space between slats should not exceed 2-3/8 inches (about the width of a soda can) to prevent entrapment. If the slats are too wide, consider using a crib bumper or mesh liner specifically designed to prevent limb entrapment.

  • Use a sleep sack or swaddle: Dress your baby in a sleep sack or swaddle blanket to limit their ability to move their arms and legs freely. This can help prevent them from getting through the crib slats.

  • Adjust the crib mattress height: Lower the crib mattress to its lowest position. This can make it more difficult for your baby to lift their arms and legs over the crib slats.

  • Provide alternative sleep environment: If the issue persists and you are concerned about your baby's safety, consider transitioning them to a different sleep environment, such as a bassinet or a crib with narrower slats. Ensure that the alternative sleep space meets safety standards and guidelines.

  • Consider a breathable mesh barrier: As always talk to your pediatrician about what is best for your baby. You might be able to consider purchasing a breathable mesh crib liner so that baby cannot get their arms and legs through the slats. If your pediatrician approves and your purchase this item, make sure it is installed correctly and all safety standards are met.

  • Supervise and monitor: Keep a close eye on your baby while they are in the crib. Regularly check to ensure they have not managed to get their arms or feet through the slats. If you notice any signs of discomfort or potential injury, intervene immediately.


Creating a safe and comfortable sleep environment for your baby is crucial for their well-being. By maintaining an optimal temperature, choosing appropriate sleepwear, establishing a consistent bedtime routine, and monitoring their comfort, you can help your little one enjoy restful nights.


Remember, each baby is unique, so it's essential to observe their cues and adjust accordingly. As new parents, trust your instincts and seek guidance from healthcare professionals when needed. For more personalized advice, consult with healthcare professionals or child sleep experts who can provide tailored recommendations based on your baby's specific needs.

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