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.