how to dress baby for sleep

The Ultimate Guide To Dressing Your Baby For A Good Night’s Sleep

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Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your baby’s health and well-being. But in order to ensure that your little one gets the rest they need, you’ll need to make sure they are dressed appropriately when it’s time to snuggle up for the night.

In this ultimate guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about dressing your baby for a good night’s sleep, from what type of clothing works best to the ideal temperature for their room.

With this information in hand, you’ll be well on your way to ensuring that your baby is as comfortable as possible – and ready to drift off into a peaceful slumber. So let’s get started!

How to dress baby for sleep: overview

When it comes to dressing your baby for sleep, comfort and safety should be the top priorities.

Make sure you dress your baby in lightweight fabrics that are breathable and keep him/her warm without being too restrictive. Cotton is a great choice as it is soft against baby skin and helps regulate body temperature.

Avoid any clothing items that have buttons, zippers, or ties, as these can cause irritation or discomfort.

In terms of layers, the general rule is that you should dress your baby in one more layer than what you are wearing.

Remember to always check your baby’s skin temperature; if they seem too hot or cold, adjust accordingly.

Factors to consider when choosing baby sleepwear


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Safety is the number one factor to consider when choosing sleepwear for your baby, especially for young infants.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a major concern for parents and it is important to dress your baby in relaxed-fitting, breathable clothing during sleep as this can reduce the risk of SIDS.

Sleep research also indicates that parents should avoid using blankets or pillows as these can cause sleep-related infant deaths due to suffocation if placed too close to a baby’s face.

Click here to read the latest advice from the NIH on reducing the risk of SIDS.

Overheating is also related to febrile seizures especially if the baby has a fever so monitoring babies when sick is especially important.

Flame retardant fabrics

Flame-retardant fabrics are an important factor to consider when choosing sleepwear for your baby. It is recommended that parents look for sleepwear made from certified flame-retardant or non-flammable materials, as this can reduce the risk of burns in case of a fire.


Soft breathable fabrics

An uncomfortable baby will not have a restful sleep! Look for breathable and lightweight fabrics such as organic cotton that are soft against their skin and help regulate body temperature.

Proper fit

Be sure to check that the clothing you choose fits properly. It should be loose enough for your baby to move freely, but not so baggy that it bunches up around them and can cause discomfort.

Make sure the clothing chosen is appropriate for your baby’s size – not too large or too small and restrictive.


Appropriate layers for room temperature

The ideal room temperature for a baby’s bedroom is between 61-68°F (16-20°C). When dressing your baby for sleep, be sure to take the room temperature into account and dress them accordingly.

In general, you should dress your baby in one more layer than what you are wearing. But always check their temperature; if they seem too hot or cold, adjust accordingly.

Appropriate layers for changes in weather

As the seasons change, so should your baby’s sleepwear. During colder months, opt for thicker layers such as footed one-piece bodysuit with long sleeves and pants.

During warmer months, choose lighter weight fabrics like cotton to keep them cool and comfortable.

Types of safe baby sleepwear

  • Poppered vest – long or short sleeved, snaps under baby’s bum, legs bare
  • Two piece sleep set
  • Footless onesie
  • Full length long sleeve onesie with footies.
  • Sleep gowns – one-piece garment gathered at the hem so baby can push feet free or tuck up inside. Designed for newborns up to 3 months. When your baby starts moving more switch to onesies or vests.

How to dress baby for sleep: A step by step guide

What to dress you baby in for sleep

Preparing your baby’s sleep area

  • Room temperature: The first step is to make sure the room temperature is comfortable for your baby. The ideal room temperature for sleeping is between 65-70°F (18-21°C). If it’s too hot or too cold, it can be difficult for your baby to fall asleep—and stay asleep. If you need help regulating the temperature of your baby’s room, consider investing in a thermostat with a built-in humidity sensor such as the Ecobee Baby Monitor. This will help ensure that your baby is always comfortable and never too hot or cold.
  • Sleep surface: The next step is to prepare your baby’s sleep surface. If you’re using a crib or bedside bassinet, make sure the mattress is firm and the sheets are tight-fitting. Find more information about crib sheets here. You’ll also want to remove any pillows, quilts, or stuffed animals from the crib before putting your baby down to sleep.

Dressing your baby

1. Layers

Now it’s time to start dressing your baby for sleep. It’s important to use layers so you can adjust their clothing if the room temperature changes during the night.

A good rule of thumb is to dress them in one more layer than you would need to be comfortable sleeping in that temperature. So, if you would need a light sweater at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, dress your baby in a footed sleeper and a light blanket. At 72 degrees Fahrenheit, dress them in a footed sleeper only.

  1. A good starting point is a short-sleeved vest.
  2. Next a footless or footed onesie.
  3. Finally, dress your baby in an appropriate style and tog sleep sack or wearable blanket to keep them warm throughout the night. This is especially important on colder nights when you may need to turn down the heat in the house. For more information about the best sleep sack for your baby click here.

2. Footwear

It’s also important to pay attention to your baby’s feet when dressing them for sleep. Babies lose a lot of heat through their feet, so it’s important to keep them warm—but not too warm.

If the room temperature is on the cooler side (less than 61 degrees Fahrenheit), consider dressing your baby in socks or booties over their footed sleeper.

3. Accessories

Avoid any unnecessary items in your baby crib. Hats are not recommended past the first 24 hrs from birth so keep your baby’s head uncovered.

Mittens are advised against past 2 weeks old. If you are concerned about your baby’s hands getting cold in a very cool room then opt for a sleep suit with stitched in foldable sleeve ends that can be folded over if your baby becomes too hot/cold at night.

Pacifiers can provide certain benefits from newborns to older babies and are thought to reduce the risk of SIDs. They can also calm babies when they are feeling anxious or fussy. Just be aware that some babies do not take to pacifiers so make sure you check with your local maternity nurse for advice if needed.

For more information about pacifiers from The Sleep Foundation click here.

Common queries about dressing baby for sleep

How many layers should a baby wear in the winter?

It’s important to use layers so you can adjust their clothing if the room temperature changes during the night due to cooler weather or if using air conditioning.

A good rule of thumb to keep your baby warm is to dress them in one more layer than you would need to be comfortable sleeping in that temperature.

Monitor your baby carefully during the night to make sure he/she is at a comfortable temperature by checking your baby’s hands.

Opt for footed pajamas, a long-sleeved onesie or an additional layer such as a sleeping bag to stay warm and prevent him/her from releasing heat from his/her feet in colder weather. Be careful to only add one layer at a time to prevent overheating.

How do I dress baby for sleep in 70 degree heat in the summer?

Creating a safe sleeping environment in warmer weather can be challenging. Keep your baby cool and prevent overheating.

Sleep sacks can still be used but opt for a lower tog such as 0.5 tog or 1.0 tog. Often on very hot summer nights a diaper with just a sleep sack or lightweight swaddle (stop swaddling between 2 and 4 months) is sufficient.

Top tip: put a fan in the same room as your baby and place a bowl of iced water in front of it. Make sure the fan isn’t directly facing your baby though as this can lead to the baby cooling too much.

Be sure to monitor your baby closely throughout the night – if your baby shows signs of becoming too warm simply remove a layer and monitor.

How do I dress baby for sleep with a fever?

If your baby has a fever, it is important to dress him or her in light, breathable materials, especially on warm nights. Avoid heavy loose blankets and hats as these can trap heat and make baby’s temperature rise.

Dress your baby in a lightweight short sleeve onesie and then add layers depending on the room temperature – one more layer than what you would find comfortable for yourself. Monitor your baby’s temperature throughout the night and remove any extra layers if needed.

Consider running a cool bath before bedtime to help lower their body temperature. If you are at all concerned about their health or wellbeing seek medical advice immediately from a doctor.

Very high fever can be dangerous for babies due to the risk of febrile convulsions. It is important that your baby is in his/her own crib not the same bed as the parents.

How can I keep my baby’s fever down at night?

Fever in children needs careful management due to the risk of febrile convulsions. Also fever can mask underlying illnesses so if your child has a fever of 38C (100.4F) or higher, seek medical advice immediately.

In some cases Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be advised – always read the instructions carefully before administering to your child.

To keep your baby’s fever down at night consider running a cool (not very cold) bath before bedtime to help lower their body temperature and dress them in light, breathable materials such as lightweight shortsleeve baby pajamas or onsie.

Monitor their temperature throughout the night, and if it rises, remove any extra layers. If your baby is uncomfortable during the night try giving them a cool flannel on their forehead or body, or use a fan in the same room (but not directly facing them).


Dressing your baby for sleep doesn’t have to be complicated! By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your baby is dressed for a good night’s sleep and will stay comfortable throughout the entire night. With the right clothing and accessories, plus a well-regulated room temperature, your baby will be off to dreamland in no time!

If you need further guidance be sure to seek help from a certified pediatric sleep consultant.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should baby be dressed to sleep?

It depends on the temperature in the room. For cooler nights, use layers such as a onesie with footed sleepers or swaddles over them; for warmer nights opt for a lightweight onesie and a sleep sack.

How many layers should a baby wear at night?

It depends on the temperature in the room. Generally, one more layer than what you would find comfortable is a good rule of thumb. In warmer months, one layer such as a lightweight onesie is enough; in cooler months, you can add an extra blanket or sleep sack.

How cold is too cold for baby at night?

It is best to keep the room temperature between 16-20°C (61-68°F). If it is too cold for you, it is probably too cold for your baby. To ensure your baby does not get too warm, opt for lightweight materials rather than thick blankets and hats.

Should I change how I dress my baby at night if I am sleep training?

Sleep training should not largely affect how you dress your baby for naps or nighttime. Click here for my article about Gentle Sleep Training for further guidance.

Final thoughts

As a paramedic and a mom I know only too well the importance of safe sleep for your baby. Not only is sleep a vital part of your baby’s development, but it is also essential for good physical and mental health. Remember to monitor the temperature of your baby throughout the night, as well as their comfort levels. By following these guidelines you can make sure that your little one stays comfortably dressed for a great night’s sleep.

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