What do I dress my baby in at night?

The good news is that the warmer weather is coming and the cooler months have passed (thank goodness!). It can be hard to know how to dress your baby at night to ensure they are comfortable in this changing weather.

While the days are warming up the nights can still be cool, making bedtime outfit choices a difficult one. Babies are sensitive to the temperature particularly in the early hours of the morning. Your little one will often move around a lot when they are cold and will wake themselves up as a result. So getting their clothing right is just as important to them as it is to you and your precious zzzz’s.

I am a huge fan of using sleeping bags, both day and night. Sleeping bags will help keep your baby’s body temperature regular and they won’t be so susceptible to the changes in temperature around them. For this time of the year, if the nights are still cool where you live, I would dress your baby in an all in one suit with long sleeves. I would then suggest putting them in a lighter sleeping bag (depending how cold the night, I would suggest a sleeping bag anywhere between a 2.5 – 1.5 tog). If you use bedding then a bamboo cotton blanket is also a good idea because it breathes and can keep them both warm and cool if they are too warm. If you use polyester and your baby is too hot, the fabric doesn’t breathe and is very uncomfortable for the baby.

If you live in a very warm climate where the nights are hot, you can still use a sleeping bag just a light weight one (0.5 – 1 tog). If you are worried about them still being cold, I would also dress your baby in an all in one short suit. I like the use of the all in one suits for young babies and toddlers because their tummies don’t get exposed by all the moving around throughout the night. Having their tummy exposed could cause them to get cold and wake up and nobody wants that!

There are some babies who are just “hot” sleepers. I usually find that this is more the case with big baby boys. If that is the case, dress them as you would if you were in a hot climate.

Room temperature is another big question I get asked about a lot. I find it is better for babies sleep if the room is somewhere between 18 and 22 degrees. In the cooler months this can be difficult to maintain a consistent temperature so I would suggest a heater or adding another layer to combat the early morning drop in temperature. You only need to do this if your room drops to below 16 degrees. I would also suggest an air conditioner if the room gets too hot in the warmer months and try to keep the room a consistent 20 degrees.

There are lots of ways of checking the temperature in your baby’s room. The easiest way is to have a thermometer in the room and the bonus is they can also double as a night light! They glow different colours to indicate if the room is too hot, too cold or just right, making it easier for you to know whether to put the heater on, add or remove a blanket etc.

If you do use a heater or an air conditioner overnight please note that it is okay to leave it on as long as it is safe and not too hot or cold. You also need to ensure the heater / air conditioner is not directly over you baby’s bed or blowing air directly on them. Remember that the ideal base for your baby’s room is around 18 to 20 degrees overnight.

And finally, try not to stress too much and follow your instincts. A good rule of thumb is to dress them as you would dress yourself adding another one layer.

Article by Wattle Health resident expert, Paediatric Nurse, Jo Ryan.