How to dress baby for sleep in winter

During the colder winter months, it is the time when we all need some extra warmth and comfort. It’s also one of those times where it can be difficult to choose clothes that are both warm enough but not too bulky or heavy on your baby’s body. This post will give you an idea about how to dress your baby for sleep in winter.

newborn baby dressed with a sleeping bag for sleep in winter

How do I know if my baby is dressed warm enough at night?

The easiest way to determine whether your baby is cold, warm enough or sweating, is to place two fingers in the neckline. If the skin on the neck is cold, you might want to put an extra layer of clothes on your little one. If the neck is warm but not moist, your baby is just fine. If the skin feels hot and moist there, your baby is too hot.

In contrast, a baby’s hands and feet often feel a bit cool due to the not yet fully developed blood flow, even though the actual body temperature is optimal.

However, cold and pale blue marbled skin is a sign that your little one is too cold.

What is the ideal temperature for a baby to sleep in?

According to experts, the ideal sleep environment for a baby should have a room temperature between 65-68°Fahrenheit (18-20°Celsius).

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) emphasizes that parents and caregivers should not overdress babies and keep the thermostat at a comfortable temperature. In general, if the room temperature is comfortable for an adult, it is also appropriate for a baby.

However, because a baby cannot yet regulate its body temperature itself, as parents, we must adapt the baby’s clothing as well as possible to the room temperature. That means not too thin, but not too thick either because then it might sweat and either overheat or catch a cold.

(When clothes soak up sweat, they become damp and cold, and instead of warming, they let the body core temperature of a baby drop.)

How cold is too cold for a baby to sleep?

The AAP recommends keeping the room temperature no lower than 60°F (15.5°Celcius).

If the room temperature drops below 55°F (12.7°Celcius), the risk of hypothermia increases significantly, and it can become dangerous even for a well-dressed baby.

sleeping baby

How can I keep my baby warm at night in winter? 

At home in a heated room around 65-68°Fahrenheit (18-20°Celcius), your baby doesn’t need gloves or a hat for sleeping. It can best give off excess body heat through the uncovered head.

A great rule of thumb says babies don’t need more than one layer of clothing more than adults.

To sleep, all your baby needs (in addition to diapers and underwear) are pajamas and, depending on the room temperature, a sleeping bag.

Loose blankets are not necessary for a cot – (neither in summer nor in winter), as they pose a choking hazard and increase the risk of sudden infant death.

However, you can preheat a cold bed, e.g., with a cherry stone pillow or a bed bottle. But make sure to take it out before you put your baby to sleep!

Oh, and btw! Even if your baby is sick, e.g., with a fever, it tends to need less clothing – never more!

baby sleeping in a sleep sack appropriately dressed for sleep in winter

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How should I dress my baby to sleep?

So, in conclusion, we can say:

A sleeping bag (TOG 1.0-2.5) and cozy baby pajamas keep your baby warm enough for sleep in winter at an ideal room temperature. 

If your baby wears too many additional layers, the bedding is too warm, or the room temperature is too high, there is a risk of overheating.

As a parent, usually, you can count on your baby to wake up and start crying when it gets too cold.

If, on the other hand, it becomes too warm, it continues to sleep. And that can be very dangerous. Overheating reduces protective defensive reflexes against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Make sure your baby’s body stays at an optimal temperature by dressing your little one accordingly.

What to look for when choosing a baby sleeping bag?

A baby sleeping bag, aka baby sleep sack, ensures that your baby is always well covered without restricting its freedom of movement. It is an excellent alternative to an extra blanket and prevents the risk of the baby choking.

When purchasing a sleeping bag for your baby, you should take the following points into account:

  • The right size is important. If the sleeping bag is too small, the baby has too little freedom of movement, and if it is too big, the baby can become entangled in it. It is ideal if the feet still have 4inches (10 centimeters) of space to grow.
  • The neck opening must not be larger than the head circumference. Otherwise, the baby can slip into the sleeping bag. A finger should fit between the neck and neckline so that there is no risk of strangulation.
  • A pear-shaped sleeping bag is ideal, i.e., close to the upper body, cut wider at the bottom for more legroom.
  • Long ribbons and buttons can be dangerous for the baby. Zippers are therefore safer. The zipper should be covered at the neckline, so it doesn’t pinch the baby’s skin when closing.
  • The TOG value must be accurate. It is the measure of the thermal output of a sleeping bag. It is more meaningful than the perceived thickness of the material.

Using this TOG table, you can see at a glance which sleeping bag suits the room temperature. The higher the TOG value, the warmer the sleeping bag.

How to dress baby for sleep

Some of the best baby sleeping bags for winter on amazon

Micro Fleece Sleep Sack / Wearable Blanket, TOG 1.0 by HALO

This cozy fleece sleep sack serves perfectly as a wearable blanket for your little one.

The roomy sack design allows room for kicking but cannot be kicked off. In addition, the inverted zipper opens from the bottom for easy diaper changes if needed during the night.

Classic Sleeping Bag / Wearable Baby Blanket, TOG 1.5 by Aden+Anais

This classic sleeping bag by Aden+Anais is super breathable. It is made with 4 layers of muslin cloth and becomes softer and softer with each wash.

Swaddle Wrap / Swaddle Blanket / Baby Sleep Sack, TOG 1.0 by SleepingBaby

This so called Zippy Swaddle Blanket keeps your baby safe and cozy. It also helps your little one to sleep better and wake up less often.

The design provides the comforting, enclosed feeling of the swaddle but doesn’t limit your baby’s full leg range of motion.

This Swaddle Sleep Sack is only suitable for baby’s who can’t roll over yet. For more important information and tips about Swaddle Blankets click here.

Some of the best baby pajamas for winter on amazon

3-Pack Sleep and Play by Simple Joys by Carter’s

These 100% cotton baby pajamas are super soft. They will keep your baby perfectly warm for sleep in winter.

The front zipper (with snap-over tab) makes for an easy outfit change in the middle of the night when necessary.

4-Pack Sleep ‘N Play Footie by Gerber

These cozy and soft footie pajamas will provide amazing comfort for your baby. Besides, they’re also perfect as casual outfits to wear during the cold winter days.

They come in various cute and fun patterns.

3-Pack Sleep and Play Suits by Hanes

These Baby Suits are made of a soft, flexible fabric which moves easily with your baby’s movements. The 4-way stretch ensures a perfect fit all night long.

Adjustable cuffs at arms and legs provide added flexibility and perfect length for at least 6 months per size.

So, now you know

What your baby should wear at night in winter

A sleeping bag (TOG 1.0-2.5) and cozy baby pajamas keep your little one perfectly warm. Simply keep checking your baby’s neck from time to time and make sure to have an optimal room temperature.

Read all about how to prevent baby diaper blowouts at night here. Or find more practical tips for life with a baby here.

how to dress your newborn baby for sleep in winter

2 thoughts on “How to dress baby for sleep in winter”

  1. Great information here. I am perpetually cold in winter so I tend to overdress my kids thinking that they are as cold as I am. I will keep this advice in mind.

  2. I wish I had this article when my kiddo was a baby! We live in a pretty cold climate, and I always stressed about if he was warm enough. Such important info for new moms!

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