All About How to Dress a Newborn for Bed Safely

Are you trying to figure out how to dress a newborn for bed? You want your baby to be as comfortable as possible, but you also don’t want to risk overheating your baby or being too cold. 

When I had my first child, my mother was adamant that she needed to wear three layers to sleep. I didn’t believe her, especially when her little head was covered in sweat, but that was what previous generations thought.

Nowadays, we know that babies are also at risk for overheating, so finding the perfect balance when dressing a baby is crucial. If you’re wondering how to dress your baby at night appropriately, here’s what you need to know. 

Should I Cover My Baby with a Blanket at Night? 

Absolutely not! Covering babies with a blanket at night dramatically increases the risk of SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in an empty crib without any blankets, pillows, or crib bumpers. 

One study by the AAP shows that 69% of suffocation cases involving infants in their cribs or bassinets involved a blanket or a pillow. If a baby accidentally rolls over, they’re unable to lift their heads enough to take a breath.

Parents often want to use a blanket at night because they worry that their baby will be cold at night. A safe alternative is to use wearable blankets covering your baby’s torso and legs while still keeping your baby safe at night. 

What Should a Newborn Wear to Sleep In?

A newborn or an infant should wear one more layer than an adult wears to go to sleep. If you feel comfortable in one layer, two layers are perfect for your baby.

When using a swaddle or a sleep sack, make sure to count those as a layer for your baby. Swaddling is a fantastic way to get your baby to sleep longer at night, but if you use the wrong amount of layers, it also increases the risk of overheating your baby. Overheating is another risk of SIDS.

Let’s take a look at how to dress a newborn for bed in the different seasons to help you make the best choices for your infant. 

What Should Baby Wear to Sleep in Summer? 

Babies should wear two layers in the summer; cotton is the best fabric to use when it’s warm outside. Cotton allows air to circulate and reduces the risk of overheating.

baby wrapped in blanket

If you use a swaddle, here are some ways that you might dress your newborn for bed in the summer.

  • A cotton onesie and a cotton swaddle blanket
  • A thin, cotton sleeper and cotton, single-layer sleep sack 
  • Just a diaper and a swaddle (perfect for HOT days when your AC might not keep up with the temperature outside) 

It’s okay for your newborn to wear only a diaper to bed under the swaddle. That might seem like a strange idea, but it’s safer for your baby to be a bit cold than too warm. 

It’s also crucial for parents to try to keep their baby’s sleeping environment between 68-72℉. This is the best temperature range, keeping your baby comfortable in whatever they wear. 

How to Dress Baby for Bed in Winter?

Dressing your baby for bed in the winter involves thicker layers. It starts with keeping your house at the appropriate temperature range for comfort, but that’s not always easy if your windows have any drafts. Living in an older home also makes keeping the house at a comfortable range harder due to lack of insulation. 

After keeping the house between 68-72℉, now it’s time to dress your baby. When it comes to how many layers should a newborn sleep in the winter, it’s still one more layer than an adult. Look for baby products with a higher TOG rating, such as 2.0 or thicker sleep sacks made of fleece.

Here are some examples of how to dress a newborn in bed in the winter.

  • A pair of pants, onesie, socks, and a sleep sack
  • A sleeper and a swaddle blanket 
  • A swaddle with a fleece wearable blanket 

When dressing your baby in the winter at night, consider thicker fabrics. Wearing cotton is still a smart choice because they circulate air, but some parents prefer microfleece. 

Ensure you never use a cap or hat on your baby’s head or anything that covers their ears. Babies regulate their temperature through their ears. That’s why wearing a hat outside helps keep you warmer, but wearing a hat to sleep isn’t a good idea because if your baby starts to overheat, then they need to release that heat through their ears. 

How to Dress Baby for Sleep Without Swaddle or Sleep Sack?

When you dress a baby for sleep without a swaddle or sleep sack, the two layers are still a good idea. One option is to use a wearable blanket. These don’t swaddle your baby, but they cover a good portion, keeping your baby comfortable throughout the night.

baby sleeps swaddled with arms out

Another option is to use a thicker sleeper. Many baby clothing companies sell fleece sleepers; these are perfect for winter nights. Depending on your house’s temperature, you might need to add a onesie underneath the fleece sleeper as well. If it has a TOG rating of 2.0, it might be the only layer your child needs. 

No matter how you dress your baby, pay attention to signs that your baby is too hot or too cold. 

When a baby is too hot, they might exhibit signs like: 

  • Sweating
  • Red Cheeks
  • Fast Breathing
  • Increased Heart Rate

When a baby is too cold, some signs include:

  • Cold Torso (don’t check their hands and feet because of poor circulation as an infant)
  • Slow Breathing Rate
  • Blue Lips
  • Pale Skin
  • Fussiness

Final Thoughts

Figuring out how to dress a newborn for bed is tricky. You want to keep your baby comfortable – not too cold or too hot. Remember that babies need one extra layer than adults; don’t put too many layers on your baby, or he might overheat. Pay attention to any signs that your baby is too hot or too cold.

Leave a Comment