It is a bit of a balancing act keeping baby warm at night, but preventing them from overheating. You want your baby to be warm and cosy, but not too warm. Overheating is linked to an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death.
If your baby is cold at night, they will wake and be unsettled. But having the room too warm can also dangerous for their health. So, you want to find that balance of a comfortable, cosy temperature that is not too hot and not too cold.
You don’t want to get hit by a wall of heat and be sweating when you walk into your baby’s room. It should be a comfortable temperature for a lightly clothed adult. Somewhere between 18 and 20 degrees is good, with 18 degrees being about perfect.
It can be difficult to judge the temperature, so it is best to have a thermometer in your baby’s room so that you can read the exact temperature and make adjustments accordingly. Even better, use a heater with a thermostat if you are able. Then you will be able to set the temperature and let the heater do the rest!
Do not use a fan heater in your baby’s room as it is hard to monitor the heat that they give out. And definitely don’t use a gas heater as these let off dangerous fumes that are toxic to your baby.
If you are using a heater, keep your baby’s room well ventilated by leaving the door open. Also make sure that your baby’s bed or cot is a safe distance from the heater. Having it close is both a fire hazard, and a risk of overheating. Buying a heater with a thermostat will help keep the temperature at a controlled safe level.
Appropriate Clothing For Keeping Baby Warm
One-piece footed garments are great for keeping your baby warm from top to toe. Make sure they are made of a breathable natural fabric like cotton so that your baby does not get sweaty. Never put your baby in a polar fleece onesie to sleep as the fabric does not breathe and they can easily overheat.
If possible choose Merino wool, its natural properties will help wick moisture away from the skin and help regulate body temperature too.
Test if your baby is warm enough by feeling their tummy or back of their neck, it is normal for their hands and face to feel cool to the touch. Of course, if their hands are turning blue then pop some mittens on them. If you find that the onesie garment is not keeping them warm enough, then add an undershirt, or socks to keep them toasty.
Dress your baby, and not the bed. If they are not warm enough, then add more layers to their clothing as opposed to more blankets on the bed. They will be free to move about without getting cold from being out of the blankets. Likewise, if they feel too warm, are sweating, or have damp hair, then remove a layer.
Your baby does not need to wear a hat in bed.
Appropriate Bedding For Keeping Baby Warm
Use a cotton fitted sheet to cover a firm, flat mattress. Do not use a pillow, a cot bumper, or have large soft toys in the cot as these are all suffocation risks.
For top safety, it is recommended to put baby to bed flat on their back, with nothing else in the cot, including blankets. For warmth, try a baby sleeping bag with a zipper, or poppers so that they cannot kick it off. The sleeping bag encases your baby’s body to keep them snuggly warm, without the danger of loose blankets. Most are also sleeveless, so your baby can move their arms freely. Chose the correct TOG rating of your sleeping bag to match the season.
If you do choose to use blankets, select lightweight cotton blankets and layer them. Do not use a duvet as it is hard to monitor your baby’s heat levels with a thick cover. Place your baby’s bedding at the foot of the cot to prevent them from slipping down the bed and under the covers. Make sure that the blanket is well tucked under the mattress, and that there are no loose areas that could cover your baby’s face.
If you don’t like the thought of putting your baby into a cold bed, you can warm it first with a hot water bottle, or wheat bag before bedtime. This is particularly useful when doing night feeds as your baby’s mattress is likely to get cold and more likely to disturb if going from your warm arms to a cold mattress.
Before you put your baby back into the bed make sure you remove it and NEVER allow your baby to sleep with a hot water bottle.
With the appropriate room temperature, clothing and bedding, you should not have to worry about your baby being cold at night. Just remember to test the temperature of their little body with your hand, and change any aspects accordingly. Now that you are sorted for keeping baby warm, it’s time to find your slippers for those midnight feeds!