Sleepwear for Newborns, Infants and Toddlers

Photo Credit: Sarah Rodenbush

Although it might not always seem like it, babies spend the first few years of life sleeping about 12 to 14 hours per day. That’s a lot of down time, and many new parents face the constant worry (no matter what the season) of whether their baby is warm/cold/dry enough while snoozing.

The American Association of Pediatricians recommends that babies/infants be dressed in only one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same temperature.

 

How Many Sleepwear Layers Do Babies Need?

In warm weather-say, over 75 degrees Fahrenheit- one layer should be enough (although it’s important to note that a diaper/underwear is not counted as a layer) for a comfortable night sleep. Anything less than 75 degrees might need an additional layer, but nothing especially heavy. There are several quality sleep sacks and baby pjs available to ward off cooler temperatures.

 

Sleepwear for Newborns

For younger babies, a receiving blanket can be used as a swaddle, over a onesie. The swaddle usually keeps baby’s arms snug against his/her body, a position that many infants find comforting. Pajamas or swaddle blankets with snaps or zippers are a must to make diaper changes easier in the middle of the night.

It is recommended that pacifiers (and/or anything that can come loose) are not attached to swaddle blankets or pajamas. You always want to make sure that no material can pull loose to gather around the face.

 

Sleepwear for Infants

For babies older than 6 months, swaddling isn’t as comforting and doesn’t really work anymore. As babies learn to roll and squirm, their sleepwear needs change. Wearable blankets, like the ones from our friends at Goumikids, are a great option for older babies, keeping them comfortable and allowing for their new-found mobility.

Loose blankets and toys are still discouraged in cribs for children. It is still too dangerous to have extra objects in the crib that might get in the way during the night.

 

Sleepwear for Toddlers

 By the time your baby is a toddler, you are dealing with opinions- namely, theirs. Having several safe options for them to choose from is a smart way to make sure everyone is happy. All children’s pajamas must comply with the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s ruling that the material be either snug-fitting or made with materials that pass specific flammability tests.

Two-piece pajama sets are a good bet here, as toddlers are starting to lean towards potty-training. Footed-pajamas are an easy, comfortable way to ensure your toddler stays warm when the covers get kicked off in the winter.

 

Can Babies and Toddlers Get Too Hot at Night?

The short answer is yes. Any time there are too many layers, babies and toddlers can get uncomfortably hot while sleeping. Generally, this is when you would fall back on the rule of not dressing babies in anything more than one layer beyond what an adult would need. Also, check to make sure the temperature in the nursery isn’t significantly different than in your bedroom. Adding a hat or head covering of any kind is not recommended.

If you are worried about your baby getting too hot while sleeping, going with a pajama material like bamboo-derived viscose, cotton or muslin are great, breathable choices. You can feel your baby’s neck or upper back to see if they feel overly hot or clammy to the touch. If they feel hot, that means a layer likely needs to be removed.

 

Parents Know Best

You know your baby best. If s/he is constantly waking up with damp hair or a hot neck, consider choosing a lighter set of pajamas, no matter what the season. Learning your baby’s signals is truly the best way to figure out what will keep him/her comfortable.

6 Tips To Ensure Baby Has A Restful Sleep

Starting at 3 months of age, many babies (thankfully!) start sleeping for longer stretches at night, although this varies from infant to infant. According to Stanford’s Children Health, two-thirds of babies are able to sleep through much of the night by the six-month mark. 

Babies who follow a consistent bedtime routine go to sleep easier and sleep better throughout the night. Bedtime routines reinforce babies’ natural circadian rhythms, helping teach them the difference between day and night. Later on, a bedtime routine helps little ones to slow down and prepare mentally for bedtime.

 

To help set new parents up for bedtime success, we’ve gathered six top sleep tips to ensure baby’s routine is smooth and effective. 

 

    1. Follow a calming bedtime routine. Overstimulation in the evening can make it difficult for your baby to settle to sleep. Play active games during the day and quiet, peaceful games in the evening, especially toward the end of the routine. Many babies enjoy bathing right before bedtime, which calms them down. Keep activities the same and in the same order, night after night.
    2. Put baby to bed drowsy, but awake. This will help them associate bed with the process of falling asleep. Remember to place your baby to sleep on his or her back, and clear the crib or bassinet of blankets and other soft, loose items.
    3. Give baby time to settle down. Save baby’s favorite activity for last, and do it in their bedroom. This will help them look forward to bedtime and associate their sleep space with things they like to do. Be peaceful, especially toward the end of the routine. 
    4. Offer a pacifier. If your baby has trouble settling down, a pacifier might do the trick. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that using a pacifier during sleep helps reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If the pacifier falls out after your baby falls asleep, you don’t have to put it back in.
    5. Keep nighttime care low-key. Make nighttime conditions in your baby’s bedroom consistent. When they wake up in the middle of the night, the sounds and lights in the room should be the same as when they fell asleep. If your baby needs care or feeding during the night, use dim lights, a soft voice and calm movements. This will let them know it’s time to sleep, not play.
    6. Help baby learn how to self-soothe. Ideally, you want your baby to learn how to fall asleep in their crib on their own. This means not picking up your little one every time he or she fusses. If your baby starts to cry, you can gently pat or rub their tummy and speak softly to him or her. Giving babies some time to comfort themselves so they can fall back asleep on their own can establish good sleeping habits, which helps you get a good night’s rest too. 

 

Middle-of-the-night feedings are unavoidable and sure to disrupt sound sleep, for both babies and parents, the first few months. As little ones grow, they will start to sleep in longer stretches. And as your baby sleeps longer, the benefits of having an established rhythm and a baby who knows how to fall asleep at bedtime and nap times, and fall back asleep when awoken, is priceless. Then, the phrase “sleep like a baby” takes on a whole new meaning!