how should i dress my baby to sleep

How Should I Dress My Baby To Sleep

As a guideline, you should dress your baby in one more layer than what an adult would find comfortable. The Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies sleep without a blanket to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but there’s no need to over bundle.

On a warm night, you can dress your baby in breathable cotton pyjamas, a onesie, or even a diaper coupled with a lightweight swaddle. On a cooler night, try layering a long-sleeved onesie or footed pyjamas with a swaddle or sleep sack over the top.

Baby sleepwear that snaps or zippers open in the front or on both legs can facilitate diaper changing, but avoid strings, badly placed fasteners, and other elements that pose a risk to your baby.

Ideally, the sleeping outfit should be loose and stretchy enough to put on easily, but not so loose that it rides up around your baby’s face or neck. Favour natural materials that won’t irritate your baby’s skin, and choose well-fitting clothing in good condition.

When choosing pyjamas for your toddler, opt for soft, breathable, chemical-free fabrics such as cotton. Avoid fleece and other synthetic fabrics that don’t breathe as well. If it’s cold, you can add socks, a onesie, or use footed pyjamas.

While you want pyjamas to fit snugly, they shouldn’t overly restrict movement. Toddlers may have fun picking out their favourite pyjamas for the night, so feel free to incorporate this into their bedtime routine.

Most toddlers start using their blankets between the ages of one and two. Nevertheless, toddlers have a habit of kicking off their blankets, so dress them accordingly. If you have trouble getting them to keep the covers on, many companies also make sleep sacks for toddlers.

The law requires children’s sleepwear to be flame-retardant or tight-fitting so it doesn’t pose a fire hazard. You may want to check the tag to ensure the pyjamas don’t contain chemical flame retardants. It’s also a good idea to watch out for loose ties, broken zippers, or other choking and strangulation hazards.

School-aged children can wear comfortable pyjamas that are appropriate for the temperature. Replace pyjamas once they are irreparably torn, threadbare, rough from too much washing, or have loose parts that pose a hazard.

Determining how to dress your baby for bed is just one of many daily decisions you’ll have to make as a new parent. While there are many variables to consider, it’s certainly not something you should lose sleep over because parents need all the sleep they can get.

Prioritize safety, and don’t be afraid to experiment with new swaddles or PJs to see what works best for your little lovebug. A restful night of zzz’s for both baby and you is likely just around the corner.

FAQs About Baby Sleep

Research shows a clear link between overheating and an increased risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy, so parents and carers must know how to dress the baby for sleep. Babies control their temperature predominantly through their heads and faces.

What Should My Baby Wear to Sleep? You should dress your baby in one-to-two layers to sleep—make sure they don't have any strings or ties—and never cover the baby's head. Until the baby can roll independently, a swaddle or sleep sack can be one of those layers.

The ideal room temperature for a sleeping baby is between 68 and 72 degrees, so if you've been blasting the heat or switching off the AC because there's a newborn in the house, it's time to adjust the thermostat. Again, if the room temperature is comfortable for you, it's likely comfortable for her.

The best outfit for your baby to sleep in follows safe sleep guidelines and accounts for the room's temperature. Onesies, footed pyjamas, and sleep sacks are ideal for helping your baby sleep comfortably without being too hot or too cold.

The AAP recommends that your child's room should be kept at a temperature that is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. A simple onesie in the summer and footed one-piece pyjamas or a sleep sack in the winter are safe options.

The basic rules

Perhaps you’ve heard about the general rule for dressing your baby for sleep: Put them in one additional layer than you would wear at night. This makes sense, as a baby should not sleep with a loose sheet or blanket. Generally speaking, a two-piece cotton PJ set or footed onesie plus a muslin swaddle should suffice.

However, this rule is just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll also need to judge if this generalization applies to your baby’s sleeping environment. The ideal room temperature should be between 68° and 72°F, so if your house tends to run cool or warm, you’ll want to adjust accordingly by adding or removing a layer.

It’s better to have a baby slightly underdressed than heavily overdressed. While older generations are often quick to bundle little ones in lots of layers, the danger of overheating is real and has been linked to a greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While this peril is most pronounced through 6 months of age, it remains a concern for toddlers.

A home thermostat or indoor thermometer can help you feel confident in your nightly pyjama-picking procedure. Plus, in time, you’ll learn to trust your instincts and use common sense. If you feel good in your cotton jammies, your baby does too.

To swaddle or not to swaddle

Newborns generally respond well to being swaddled. The snug bundling technique can help young infants feel safe and soothed like they’re back in the womb. A cotton or muslin material is a good choice, as both are lightweight and breathable and offer ample flexibility for easy wrapping and tucking.

Parents who aren’t quite confident in their baby-burritos skills can choose a swaddle sack or suit that offers Velcro and zipper “cheats” (No, you’re not failing as a parent if you can’t ninja-swaddle a baby like a maternity nurse).

Note that once your baby starts to roll over, it’s time to lose the swaddle, as it’s no longer considered a safe option. Babies can graduate to a sleep slack or wearable blanket instead. These are also great options if your munchkin didn’t take to the swaddle from the get-go.

If neither swaddling nor sleep sacks work for you, that’s fine. Choose footed sleepwear or slightly warmer fabrics to increase warmth when needed.

Examples of appropriate sleepwear

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If you’re the type who prefers a concrete example to follow, check out the following suggestions for warm or cool nights, along with additional tips on hats, snug fits, and snaps.

Lighten up on summer nights

On warm nights, keep it light and breezy — a basic short-sleeve cotton or organic-cotton bodysuit or T-shirt with a muslin or cotton swaddle or sleep sack layered on top is fine.

A bodysuit or tee on its own is also OK if it’s particularly sweltering. Of course, if you have the air conditioner pumping, you can probably stick with cotton long-sleeve pyjamas with footies.

Prepare for a winter chill.

Get your little one ready for a chilly winter night with appropriate gear. A pair of snuggly fleece pyjamas or heavier microfleece swaddle or sleep sack over standard cotton jammies should do the trick. Just remember, no loose blankets.

But what about a hat?

Save the accessories for your Instagram photoshoots. While we adore those cute knit hospital caps, they’re not meant to be used for sleep once you leave the maternity floor.

You want to avoid all loose articles, and a hat could slip off your baby’s head and cover their face, inhibiting free breathing. Furthermore, a baby self regulates by releasing heat through that newborn noggin, so a hat can lead to overheating.

Stick with a snug fit

Some brands begin to offer flame-resistant pyjamas starting at the 9-month mark. These are made with materials that have been chemically treated to decrease the risk of catching fire.

However, some pediatricians question the potential health effects of these chemicals. 

As an alternative, you can stick with PJs made from cotton or natural-fibre materials labelled as “snug-fitting.” These are not treated with a flame retardant but instead, fit close to the body to minimize flammability.

Moreover, snug PJs are always preferable, as loose clothing or materials can ride up and dangerously cover a baby’s face during sleep.

Functionality over fashion

One more thing to keep in mind: convenience. You’ll most likely have to perform a few diaper changes throughout the night in the early days of infanthood. No one wants to fumble with tricky buttons at 3 a.m., so strategically placed snaps and zippers can make these groggy nappy changes more efficient.

Know If Your Baby Is Comfortable

Given that babies can’t talk, it can feel like we’re left to decode their every coo and cry. Sometimes we get it right. Other times? Not so much. But parents quickly learn to pick up on their baby’s cues and look to them as insightful clues.

If your nugget is fed and changed but still acting distressed, it may be uncomfortable or too hot or cold. Of course, there are some important physical indicators to look for too.

Perspiration, rash, wet hair, red cheeks, and quickened breathing are a few signs that a baby is potentially overheating. Note that a baby’s extremities might remain cold to the touch, as their tiny circulatory system is still developing.

When in doubt, feel the skin on your baby’s neck, tummy, or chest. If these areas are hot or sweaty, you’ll want to take immediate action to get the cooler. Remember, overheating has been linked to SIDS, so lower the room temperature and remove one layer and check back in a few minutes.

While overheating is certainly the bigger concern, you’ll also want to ensure that your wee one is not too cold. If you notice that your infant’s hands and feet look slightly bluish, it might be time to turn up the heat or add a layer. Don’t panic — those cute fingers and toes should return to their regularly rosy state in no time.

Baby Sleep Clothes: The Tot’s Recommendations

 We recommend going for comfortable, pesticide and flame retardant-free sleepwear for your infant. Here are the best baby pyjamas:

If your baby kicks off their blanket, a sleepsack or sleep bag is the solution for you. The Halo Sleepsack Wearable Blanket is made from 100% organic cotton that is soft to the touch, hypoallergenic and provides a cozy and comfortable sleeping alternative to blankets in the crib. 

The sleep sack has an inverted zipper that allows quick and easy access for diaper changes, meaning significantly less fuss from babies. Halo also makes a Sleepsack Swaddle that’s used in hospital nurseries nationwide. The 3-way adjustable swaddle adjusts to your baby’s sleep style and keeps them safe and snuggly.

Halo Sleepsack Wearable Blanket

 The Halo® SleepSack® wearable blanket is a warm cuddly blanket they can’t kick off, ensuring the baby sleeps soundly throughout the night. Made of 100% certified organically-grown cotton, the fabric is free of chemical dyes, softeners and finishes.

Halo Sleepsack Swaddle

 The HALO SleepSack Swaddle replaces loose blankets in the crib that can cover your baby’s face and interfere with breathing. In addition to helping your baby sleep safer, it helps him sleep better, too. Discontinue swaddling when the baby signs rolling over or breaking out of the swaddle wrap.

Hart + Land Bamboo Sleep Bag + Kyte Baby Sleep Bag

These adorable sleep bags from HART + LAND and Kyte BABY are made from sustainable bamboo rayon fabric that is soft to the touch and provides a cozy and comfortable sleeping alternative to blankets in the crib.

Malabar Baby Quilted Wearable Blanket

Made from pesticide-free Indian cotton and designed with a right shoulder snap and silent zipper for easy diaper changes, this wearable quilted blanket from Malabar Baby is perfect for cooler nights.

Hart + Land Bodysuit Pjs

For mamas with an infant still in a swaddle, a great combination would be a Hart + Land Pima Cotton Bodysuit PJ paired with an Organic Cotton Swaddle for winter and the Hart + Land Short sleeve Bodysuit paired with an Organic Cotton Swaddle for summer.

Exclusive to The Tot, the super-soft HART + LAND SLEEP footed bodysuit will keep little ones cozy all night. With long sleeves and convenient snaps along the front, they’re perfect for morning cuddles with the family.

Organic Cotton Swaddles

Organic cotton swaddles are a must-have item for any parent. Incredibly versatile, they can be used for swaddling, nursing, tummy time, shading, and snuggling. When made from 100% organic cotton, they get even softer with each wash. Please scroll down to see some of our favourite picks.

Toddler Pajamas: How To Dress Toddler For Bed (12+ Months)

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Once your child is 12 months old, using a sleep sack is still a perfectly good solution to keep their feet warm at night. It’s also the age where you can introduce a blanket into the crib.

I’m using the Kyte Baby organic bamboo rayon quilt for my oldest child. It’s also big enough for a parent to snuggle under while reading books at bedtime!

Kyte Baby Bamboo Rayon Pj Set

Available in a range of colours, this classic Bamboo Rayon PJ Set will keep your toddler warm and cozy all night. Designed with a long sleeve crew neck style top and cuffed pants, they’re snug fitting so that they don’t need harmful chemicals like flame retardants.

More safe sleep tips

While pyjamas are important, there are many other safety tips to keep top of mind for your baby’s nap time and bedtime.

  • Per the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), your little one should always be placed on their back on a firm surface for sleep. Once a baby can roll over, you need not worry if they flip to their side or belly.
  • Remember, once your infant learns to roll, the swaddle has to go. Swaddles restrict the movement of their arms, which they might need to flip over safely.
  • The crib or bassinet should be free of loose-fitting sheets, bumpers, blankets, pillows, wedges, positioners, and stuffed animals. In short, nothing other than your baby and a pacifier is allowed. Yes, a pacifier is fair game and may even reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • If possible, it’s best to have your baby sleep in your room — in their crib or bassinet — for the first 6 to 12 months of life. The AAP has stated that sharing a room can reduce a baby’s risk of SIDS by up to 50 per cent. Note that co-sleeping in the same bed is not recommended.
  • A fan can not only keep your baby cool but also circulate air in the room and reduce the risk of SIDS.

Take age into consideration.

Of course, you’ll have to reevaluate your baby’s sleep situation as they get older and bigger. What worked at three months might not work at six months, and things will continue to evolve as your child becomes more independent.

For example, you might need to rethink using certain sleep sacks once a suddenly active infant stands up or when a toddler attempts the great crib escape.

When your baby hits the big 12-month milestone, you may even get the green light to add a small thin blanket. That said, make this decision with thoughtful consideration, and when in doubt, talk to your pediatrician.

Determining how to dress your baby for bed is just one of many daily decisions you’ll have to make as a new parent. While there are many variables to consider, it’s certainly not something you should lose sleep over because parents need all the sleep they can get.

Prioritize safety, and don’t be afraid to experiment with new swaddles or PJs to see what works best for your little lovebug. A restful night of zzz’s for both baby and you is likely just around the corner.

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