When the cold winter months come around, many parents face a difficult challenge: how do I keep my baby warm at night without overheating her? What are the best clothing choices to ensure a great night’s sleep for my little one during winter? When looking for the answers online it can become overwhelming as there are many contradictory pieces of advice.
In this article, we are going to give you a simple guide for keeping your baby warm at night with proper clothing and sleep environment and most importantly keeping your baby safe but cozy. Let’s dive in!
Some of the most common concerns and questions that parents have when preparing their baby for sleep in the cold months include:
● Baby getting cold
● Baby getting overheated
● Baby’s skin dried by temperature changes
It’s not easy to find a perfect solution, on one hand, it is always recommended to keep your baby room slightly cool - but how do you do that without the baby getting cold? Also, is air conditioning or heating ok? How about blankets? What's the ideal temperature for a baby to sleep in? How do I protect my baby’s sensitive skin from getting dried out and chapped because of temperature changes in winter?
There are two crucial factors you need to consider and make work together to ensure the best possible sleep of your little one during cold months: environment and clothing.
See our blog post about baby’s good night Sleep for the Holidays .
Sleep Environment - As Important As What Your Baby Should Wear to Sleep
First, let’s focus on the room your baby is sleeping in. As newborns aren’t able to regulate their body temperature like adults, it’s important to provide them with a proper sleep environment. According to experts an ideal temperature for the baby’s room in between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
So how do you check if your baby is getting too cold or hot at night?
You should never check only based on the warmth of your little one’s hands or feet - they are almost always cool to the touch and therefore not accurate for determining the actual body temperature. Instead, you should gently touch the back of your baby’s neck - damp hair will mean your baby is getting overheated; cool neck indicates that she is too cold.
When using a heater make sure your baby is away from the blowing warm air so that it doesn’t directly touch and dry out their skin while they are sleeping. Also, make sure you don’t have any drafty windows and to be on the safe side, place your baby’s crib at least a couple of feet away from any potential source of cold air entering the room.
Pay special attention if your baby has any preexisting skin conditions like eczema (present in about 10% of babies according to Seth Orlow, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine). Check for patches of red, dry and itchy skin on the face or behind the ears. Also check in the creases of the neck, knees, and elbows. These conditions can be exacerbated in winter when the skin is more prone to getting dry.
Your Baby’s Crib
Always make sure to use a firm mattress for your baby’s crib. This is important because of two reasons: first of all its healthy for your little one’s back, and secondly, mattresses made of soft material increase the chances of your baby getting sick due to the cold air entering into the mattress.
Another thing you should consider is preheating the crib before putting your baby down. All you need to do is place a hot water bottle or heating pad over the crib sheet 30 minutes before you put your little one to sleep in the crib, but always remember to remove it a couple of minutes before laying your baby down to avoid any overheating or burns!
Lastly, no blankets in the crib allowed. To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), experts recommend that you put your baby to sleep on her back without any pillows or coverings at all. Those recommendations, backed by the research of the American Academy of Pediatrics, helped to decline SIDS rates considerably from 130.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 35.4 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2017.
Your baby's safety at night is always a priority. To see more tips on safe and healthy sleep for your little one, see our blog Safe Sleep Matter .
What Should Your Baby Wear to Sleep in Winter
Now that we got the perfect room and crib preparation covered, let's talk about the best clothing for babies during the cold months.
Layers: A Solution to What Your Baby Should Wear to Sleep in Winter
Focus on layering your baby with a few thin layers of warm clothes that you could easily remove during diaper changes. A good rule of thumb is to dress your baby in one more layer than you. Start with a long-sleeve onesie or undershirt, then add a light sleeper and lastly place your little one in a warm sleep sack.
Looking for a light sleepsuit or onesie? Zippy-OneZ is our perfect solution, made of light cotton material to keep your baby warm at night. A fuss-free zipper inseam makes diaper changing a breeze.
Covering your Child’s Hands and Feet
As babies lose most of the heat through their feet and hands it could be a good idea to cover them with lightweight and soft mittens and socks. An even better solution is a swaddle transition product or onesie that gets it all covered for you with closed sleeves and bottom.
An example of such a product could be a Ziapdee-Zip or any long sleeve sleepsuit or onesie that covers hands and feet. Those products will not only help your little one maintain heat but also give them space for movement while preventing a startle reflex.
What Should Your Baby Wear Outdoors
There are a couple of simple rules to remember before taking your little one outside during winter. Toddlers 12 months and older require the same amount of clothing as you do, and younger babies need one extra layer. As mentioned before, dress your baby in layers, this time starting with a long-sleeve onesie or undershirt with tights. Then add a layer of pants and a warmer top, for example, a sweater. A soft hat and mittens will help keep out the cold. Lastly, add a light jacket, preferably made of fleece.
For placing your baby in a car seat, don’t place any additional layers between the baby and the car seat straps. This can create too much space between the outer layer of the material held by straps and the baby's body, which can be dangerous, potentially resulting in your baby slipping out from between the belts during a sudden stop. Be sure to remove the external third layer once the baby is in the car to prevent overheating.