How to Dress Your Baby for Sleep

Babies can sleep up to 18 hours a day (in 24 hours) within their first year of life. That’s a lot of sleep! It’s important to make sure that parents are choosing the right sleepwear to contribute to safe sleep and restorative sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends dressing your baby in one additional layer from what you are wearing. This applies if your child is of the age where they are not using a blanket. This Baby Sleepwear Guide will give you all the information you need to help you dress your baby for sleep appropriately while complying with safety standards.

How to dress your baby for sleep

How To Dress Your Baby For Sleep

When it comes to knowing how to dress your baby for sleep, it’s important to consider their environment first. Newborn and infant sleep is so critical to their brain, immune system, and physical development. Providing a healthy and safe environment is the key to all of this. Here are the basics of an ideal sleep environment:

Create an optimal sleep environment

Dark

Circadian rhythms are largely determined by exposure to light, and even a small amount of light can disrupt sleep, so the room in which your child sleeps must remain dark. Think blackout shades and avoid the nightlight outside of feeding times. 

These are my two favorite blackout shade options, these are paper and can be cut, they’re great for travel. These are more secure and frame right to your window, no light will come through with these!

Cool

The room temperature in which your child sleeps should remain between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Babies are safest and sleep best in cooler temperature environments. This can help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Quiet

I highly recommend the use of continuous white noise for both naps and nighttime. White noise helps mask outside noises that can be disruptive (especially as your child’s sleep cycles are ending and sleep tends to be lighter!) and noises coming from inside your home (e.g., a barking dog, screaming children, ringing doorbell, etc.) The YogaSleep Whish sound machine is my absolute favorite. Continuous sound without any pitches can help maximize your child’s sleep habits and helps to encourage them to sleep through the night.

Safe

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no loose blankets, stuffed animals, or lovies until age 1. Introducing these in your child’s sleep space before age 1 could increase the risk of suffocation or other unsafe sleep practices. Clothing should have a snug fit, loose clothing can increase the risk of SIDS.

Be sure all furniture is bolted to the wall and all creams and powders are safely stored so your now mobile child does not get into any trouble! And if you haven’t already done so, make sure that you drop the crib mattress all the way down to the lowest level. Sleep training is a time when many children try to climb out of the crib!

How to Dress Your Baby for Sleep for the Seasons

There are A LOT of sleep clothing products out there- this is helpful but can also be overwhelming. There are important safety standards to look at when choosing how to dress your baby for sleep. You may see sleeping bags or sacks with the term TOG next to it. TOG is the measure of thermal resistance otherwise known as thermal overall grade. Thermal Overall Grade is the standard of measure for how much heat a garment retains. The higher the TOG, the warmer it will keep your child (or the more heat it will retain).

TOG Rating Guidance

  • 0.5 TOG: this is the cooler option to dress your baby for sleep. This is a lightweight version similar to a swaddle blanket and is best used in extra-warm climates/rooms. If you would be comfortable with a light sheet, a 0.5 TOG would be perfect for your little one.
  • 1.0 TOG: when your baby starts to wear long-sleeve onesies or pants outside, then it’s time to move them into a 1.0 TOG sleeping bag/sack.
  • 2.5 TOG: this is the sleeping bag that will keep your little ones warm and snuggly during the cold winter months when their room temperature may go down into the low 60s (Fahrenheit).
Dressing your baby for summer

Summer

It’s hot in the summer! In the warmer months, be sure to dress your baby for sleep using 100% cotton or breathable material. Sleep sacks or bags should be made of cotton or muslin material which is extremely breathable. Using a wearable blanket like a swaddle or a sleep sack is fine but make sure your baby’s hands and feet are exposed to stay cool. They can certainly wear short sleeves under the swaddle or sleep sack if there are some warm nights!

Recommendations 

Fall & Spring

Look for 100% cotton or bamboo and use light fleece pajamas if it gets cooler at night in your climate. Footed pajamas are a great option to use under a sleep sack or swaddle!

Recommendations 

How to dress your baby for winter

Winter 

Look for fleece or microfleece to keep your child warm if you live in cooler climates.

Woolino 4 Season Sleep Bags
HALO Micro-Fleece Sleepsack *These go up to size XL which will fit children up to 40 inches tall and 36 pounds! This is great for toddlers, especially if your child is trying to climb over the crib!

Look for fleece or microfleece to keep your child warm if you live in cooler climates. 

Remember, babies sleep best in a room environment between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are concerned that your child is too hot, put your hand on the back of their neck. If their neck is warm, take a layer off!

Should Newborns Wear Hats To Sleep? 

According to the AAP, a baby should never wear a hat to sleep. A baby’s head should never be covered during sleep because if their head is warm, a baby could overheat. You want to dress your baby in comfortable clothing which would mean they are in appropriate clothing for the temperature. 

Hopefully, these tips are helpful when choosing how to dress your baby for sleep. If you’re struggling with baby sleep in general, please feel free to reach out. You deserve solid sleep! 

Sleep Shore Sleep Consulting

Sleep Shore Sleep Consulting

Ready to work with expert sleep consultants to get your baby on a consistent bedtime routine? Want to get your newborn, infant, toddler, or school-age child sleeping in until a normal time? Maybe your goal is to get your child to sleep through the night. Whatever it is, Sleep Shore is here to end the exhaustion and help your whole family sleep better! 

Click here to learn more about my sleep coaching programs and which sleep training program is right for you. It’s time to get the sleep you deserve to finally feel well-rested in the morning (yes, it’s possible). See what this mama had to say about our sleep coaching: 

“Life has changed so much for us since sleep training. My husband and I had tried everything and our methods of helping our little girl sleep weren’t working anymore. Our whole household was affected. Our days centered around trying to get her enough sleep. We started sleep training with Sleep Coach Molly and I was shocked the first time she initiated sleep without having to be fed or held to sleep. During our journey, we had to break some sleep association habits and it was challenging but Molly was there to give us advice and encouragement. Our little girl Ella is so much happier now. I feel like I can be a better mom because I’m not constantly running on fumes from sleep deprivation. Sleep training has positively impacted our whole family and we are ever so grateful to Molly and the Sleep plan she curated just for our daughter!”

-MOM OF A 4-MONTH OLD

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