Getting your baby ready for bedtime seems like an easy task but it’s actually more than meets the eye. From frantically worrying over your little bundle of joy overheating in a pile of clothes to being troubled over what to dress them in so they can sleep in peace and comfort. Something as insignificant as selecting a pair of pyjamas for your tiny munchkin can feel like a daunting decision when you’re a newly minted and utterly exhausted parent. Well, we’re here to put an end to your and your baby’s sleepless nights with these tips on dressing your little one for bedtime.
Down to the Basics
There is a general rule of thumb for dressing your baby for bedtime. Put them in one additional layer than you would wear at night. Babies generally don’t sleep with a loose sheet or blanket, so an extra layer of warmth is ideal. A two-piece cotton PJ set or footed onesie plus a muslin swaddle should suffice. However, you’ll also need to judge if this generalization applies to your baby’s sleeping environment. The ideal room temperature should be between 20°C and 22°C, so if your house tends to run cool or warm, you’ll want to adjust accordingly by adding or removing a layer. It’s recommended to have your baby slightly underdressed than heavily overdressed. While older generations are often quick to bundle little ones in lots of layers, the danger of overheating is real and has been linked to a greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Basically, if you feel good in your own cotton jammies, chances are your baby does too. A home thermostat or indoor thermometer can help you feel confident in your nightly pyjama-picking procedure.
Swaddling: Yay or Nay?
New-borns usually respond well to being swaddled. The snug bundling technique can help young infants feel safe and comfy, like they’re back in the womb. A cotton or muslin material is a good choice, as both are lightweight and breathable and offer ample flexibility for easy wrapping and tucking. That said, parents who aren’t quite confident in transforming their babies into a little burrito wrap can choose a swaddle sack that comes with Velcro and zipper fastenings.
The Right Wear
Light & Breezy - On warm nights, keep it light and breezy — a basic short-sleeve cotton or organic-cotton bodysuit or T-shirt with a muslin or cotton swaddle or sleep sack layered on top is fine.
Chill Out - Get your little one ready for a chilly winter night with appropriate gear. Either a pair of snuggly fleece pyjamas or heavier microfleece swaddle or sleep sack over standard cotton jammies should do the trick.
Hats & Beanies - While we adore those cute knit hospital caps, they’re not meant to be used for sleep. You want to avoid all loose articles, and a hat could slip off your baby’s head and cover their face, inhibiting free breathing. Furthermore, a baby self regulates by releasing heat through that their heads, so a hat or beanie can lead to overheating.
Checking Up on Your Munchkin
Since our little munchkins can’t talk just yet, it can feel like we’re left to decode their every coo and cry. Sometimes we get it right. Other times? Not so much. But parents quickly learn to pick up on their baby’s cues and look to them as insightful clues. If your munchkin is fed and changed but still acting distressed, they may be uncomfortable or too hot or cold. Of course, there are some noteworthy physical indicators to look for too. Perspiration, rash, wet hair, red cheeks, and quickened breathing are a few signs that a baby is potentially overheating. Note that a baby’s extremities might remain cold to the touch, as their tiny circulatory system is still developing. When in doubt, feel the skin on your baby’s neck, tummy, or chest. If these areas are hot or sweaty, you’ll want to take immediate action to get them cooler. Remember, overheating has been linked to SIDS, so lower the room temperature or remove one layer and check back on them in a few minutes. While overheating is certainly the bigger concern, you’ll also want to make sure that your little one is not too cold. If you notice that your infant’s hands and feet are looking slightly blueish, it might be time to turn up the heat or add a layer. Fret not, those cute little fingers and toes should return to their regularly rosy state in no time.