How to dress a newborn for sleep in the summer

How to dress a newborn for sleep in the summer

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated its guidelines for parents of newborns who are worried about the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS. One of the recommendations stated the ideal timescale for sharing a room with your newborn baby answers the commonly asked question of “how long a baby sleeps in your room?”

The new guidelines state the best option for new parents should be to keep an infant in their room for the first 12 months of their lives. There are many different ways a parent can handle the transition from sharing a room with their baby when they have solved the riddle of how long a baby sleeps in your room.

When to move your baby out of your room

One of the biggest questions facing you when you are a new parent is where your newborn should sleep and for how long. For most parents, the need to breastfeed on a regular basis throughout the night means you will usually opt to place a crib or bassinet in your bedroom to make life easier. The question of how long a baby sleeps in your room usually rears its head soon after baby arrives home and you need to return to normal life as soon as possible.

There are a number of school of thoughts regarding how long a baby sleeps in your room. The most trusted recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics states your newborn should remain in your room for the first 12 months of life or as close to this time as possible.

Other groups have largely agreed with the guidelines from the AAP and state a baby should be moved if they learn how to flip from back to stomach some time around the sixth month. For many new parents, the desire to keep their newborn in their room for as long as possible comes from the fear of SIDS.

Among the reasons you should take into account include how long a baby sleeps in your room include:

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • Breastfeeding
  • Building a bond
  • The alertness of your baby

Reasons to keep your baby in your room

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

The main reason why parents ask how long a baby sleeps in your room is to avoid the issue of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The statistics regarding SIDS make for unhappy reading when you look at the number of babies who die each year as a result of Sudden Infants Death Syndrome. This problem affects over 3,500 U.S. babies each year but can be positively affected by the decision to keep your baby in your bedroom for the first few months of their life. The AAP recommends a baby should stay in its parent’s bedroom for the first 12 months because this can lower the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.

Over the course of the first 12 months of life, an infant is at the greatest risk of SIDS as they are unable to raise the alarm if they are struggling to breathe. Following this advice to extend room-sharing can often be difficult but with the re4search regarding SIDS becoming so overwhelming, the question of how long a baby sleeps in your room is no longer being asked.

Breastfeeding is made easy

One of the most important answers to the question of how long a baby sleeps in your room is that of breastfeeding. New mothers often keep their infant in a bassinet or crib in their room as you will wish to have your baby close at hand throughout the day and night to make sure you can return your baby to bed as soon as possible after feeding. The need to keep an eye on your newborn and complete feedings as soon as possible before the baby begins to cry and disturb others in the household. This is usually most important for a family with other children who are school age.

Building a stronger bond

The bond between parents and baby is often more difficult to form when how long a baby sleeps in your room is a short period of time. When a baby is allowed to sleep in the bedroom of his or her parents they have the chance to form a close bond with you as they will become comfortable in your presence very quickly. The bond between parent and child is one which should be formed quickly to provide a sense of comfort for the child who will quickly feel safe when sleeping in your room.

How alert is your baby?

Although the recommendations state how long a baby sleeps in your room focus on the chance of SIDS causing problems for your infant, others have different ideas. Some experts in babies explain one of the main concerns should be for the extent of alertness achieved by your baby. Many infants become alert to their surroundings sometime around the sixth month with others arriving at this stage earlier and later. If your baby is alert and aware of their surroundings, the issue of how long a baby sleeps in your room could be made more difficult. Many experts believe the best option is to move your baby into their own room sometime around the sixth month when they are less likely to struggle to break the bond of sleeping so close to their parents.

Transitioning to baby’s own room

When you ask how long a baby sleeps in your room and answer the time has come to transition into their own space you should make sure every aspect of the nursery is ready for baby. Firstly, if your baby is not managing to sleep through the night and still wakes every three to four hours it is probably not the right time to transition into their own room. However, by the time a baby reaches one year in age they should probably be sleeping through the night and should be checked by a pediatrician to make sure there are no problems.

How do you prepare your baby’s room for transitioning to sleeping away from parents? The first step is to follow the latest advice about the style of bed and accessories to use. The AAP recommends you let your baby sleep in a crib with a firm mattress. The question many new parents ask is, “what constitutes a firm mattress?” The answer is a mattress which does not depress when it is pressed by the baby or parent.

There are many different guidelines for making sure your baby stays safe during those first few nights alone in their bedroom. Firstly, a crib bumper should never be used and no blankets or soft toys should be placed in the crib with your baby who should sleep on a firm mattress equipped with a fitted sheet.

Conclusion

It is common for any parent to feel a little uncomfortable with the transition to baby sleeping in their own room after so long sharing your room. You should remember the move to a nursery is often more difficult for the parent than it is for the infant and everybody should feel comfortable with the move for it to be successful. If you or your baby are struggling to feel comfortable with the move of rooms you should return to sharing and wait for a month before trying again. Many parents sleep in the nursery with their baby for the first couple of nights to make sure they feel comfortable with the transition as it occurs.

Shopping for baby clothes can be a very fun experience for both moms and dads. If you are a new parent, choosing baby apparel for a certain season may seem slightly difficult. Most parents find that dressing their baby during the months of summer is actually a lot easier than dressing them during the months of winter. Here are a few of the things that every parent should know about baby summer wear before they begin shopping for apparel.

Onesies will be your saving grace during the months of summer. Not only do they make changing your baby’s diaper very easy, but they are lightweight and come in short sleeve varieties. Babies can wear onesies in the day with a pair of lightweight pants or shorts. At night, they can sleep in onesies.

T-shirts will also be essential for the months of summer. When onesies are not available, a lightweight t-shirt will provide ultimate comfort to your baby. It is important to prevent your baby from overheating, but keep in mind that a lightweight jacket or blanket should be kept in the stroller with your baby in case it gets chilly at night or if there is a breeze.

When are shorts appropriate? Depending on the region that you live in and the temperature, there is a strong possibility that lightweight pants can be worn most of the time. However, if your baby seems somewhat more irritable and cranky, it could be because he is hot. When the temperatures are very hot and if there is no air conditioning, shorts are appropriate. Take notice of what other mothers are dressing their babies in. This should help you determine if shorts are a good idea.

One of the most important baby accessories that you will want to purchase for summer is a sun hat. Babies have very sensitive skin, which should not be exposed to sunlight. Applying sun block is important but usually is not enough. A sun hat will prevent the sun’s harmful rays from burning your baby.

Unlike with baby winter wear, socks may not be essential for your baby to wear at all times. Depending on where you live, they should probably be worn at night or on cool windy or rainy days. Even during these times, however, lightweight socks are a much better choice than heavier socks. Overheating during summer is a common problem for babies. Since the feet are the control center of the body’s temperature, it is important to avoid socks that will cause baby to sweat. Shoes are often unnecessary as well.

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How to dress a newborn for sleep in the summer

If your baby was born during the winter, no doubt you are enjoying getting outside in the warmer weather and the abundant sun of these warmer months. I’m sure you figured out how to bundle up your baby to keep her warm in the frigid temperatures, and are anticipating dressing your baby in sweet summer fashions.

As for sleep, you likely had the temperature in your house just right and Baby was dressed comfortably for snuggly winter nights. But as the temperatures rise, perhaps you are wondering about the best way to keep her cool while she sleeps in the summer.

There is no one single right way to dress your baby to sleep in summer. It will depend on the climate where you live, if you have air conditioning or not, and your baby’s preferences. But here are a few things to consider as you get your baby ready to sleep during summer nights.

How to Dress Your Baby for Sleep in the Summer

Don’t be tempted to overdress baby

Because overheating at night has been linked to SIDS, don’t put Baby in too many layers.

I tend to run cold, even in the summer, and I was always battling with how to dress my summer newborn. Don’t project your own level of comfort on to your baby.

Cool fingers and toes don’t convey an accurate gauge of Baby’s body temperature. Checking the back of the neck or the tummy is the best indicator. Skin should be cool and dry to the touch; if the neck or tummy is hot or sticky, Baby is too warm.

Utilize lightweight layers

I’m sure you’ve heard that generally speaking, babies wear one more layer than you are wearing. When they are tiny, babies are unable to regulate their own temperature and tend to run colder than we do.

Natural materials such as cotton that are lightweight and breathable are perfect. A short sleeve onesie with a long-sleeve, footed sleeper may be one option. Or if you are still swaddling you may want use a cotton swaddle or lightweight sleep sack with a onesie underneath.

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If it’s particularly warm and your house is not air conditioned, a short sleeve onesie should be just fine. Babies don’t have the same need to be covered in a blanket like we do.

You may need to check on your baby frequently at first until you have a good idea of what she is most comfortable wearing. If your baby is fussy and all other needs are met, she may be uncomfortable and her layers may need to be adjusted. Monitor her closely and follow her cues, she will let you know how she feels.

I remember worrying about every little thing at first and I wish I would have given myself more grace. Somehow my husband and I got it figured out and things run a little more smoothly in our house these days.

As with anything, new seasons and stages have an adjustment period. It may feel that you just figured out how to keep your newborn comfortable in winter and now it’s time to transition to a new season. That feeling will be with you for a little while.

Don’t worry too much about each new change. As you observe your growing little one you will discern how to meet her needs through each phase.

  • Alanna McGinn
  • August 1, 2017Baby Sleep, Sleep Environment, Sleep Tips, Summer Sleep

One question that the Good Night Sleep Site team gets from parents quite frequently is how to dress baby for sleep in the summer at night. While most people know how they like to dress for sleep in the summer, they aren’t sure if the same rules apply to their little ones. Keep reading for some helpful specifics when it comes to dressing baby for sleep on warmer nights.

What Baby Should Wear For Summer Sleep

Should we still use sleepsacks? Yes, you can still use them in the summer—and you should! There are many lightweight sleepsacks available, but I actually really love a wool sleepsack in the summer. (And I’m sure you’re now thinking—“Did she just write wool for the summer?”) I did! Wool is a great body temperature regulator, both in the cold months and the warm ones. Though wool sacks are definitely on the pricier side, they are a great investment, in that they can be worn for a few years, are high quality, and hold up very well over time with the proper care, making it unnecessary to invest in a bunch of other lower quality ones. Woolino and Merino Baby are two excellent brands. (And in case you’re wondering, you do not have to dry clean a wool sleepsack. I wash ours on delicate on the cold cycle and then let them air dry.)

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Should we use a onesie or footed pajamas? That is the question. To which I answer, either! For children who are often sleeping in air conditioning or in a cooler nighttime summer climate, their small bodies can get cool at night. A baby’s circulatory systems focuses mainly on keeping the chest cavity warm during sleep, which means extremities can often get cooler. I love the bamboo cotton footed pajamas made by KicKee Pants. They are soft and lightweight but do the job in terms of keeping those arms and legs warm. Their footed pajamas go up to size 4T.

For babies who sleep in non-air conditioned environments where it can stay sticky at night, opt for a short-sleeved onesie under a sleepsack.

But what if their hands and feet feel cold? See my note about their circulation above. Don’t use the way their hands or feet feel to determine how hot or cold they might be running. A great temperature check is by checking the back of their neck. If it is cool and dry, you can feel confident that they are not too hot. Also, trust your baby! If he or she is really uncomfortable, she will let you know. But if you take the steps above, you can rest easy that temperature will be just fine. Dressing your baby appropriately helps to create a perfect sleep environment that will support your little one getting the restful and restorative sleep they need.

Written by Good Night Sleep Site Consultant.

Good Night Sleep Site provides free child and family sleep support through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We invite you to join our sleep community as we work towards Good Night Sleep Site’s mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips, subscribe to our newsletter and visit Good Night Sleep Site.

By: Shelley Frost

The summer months often mean outdoor time during family gatherings, barbecues and other social events. Dressing your newborn requires more than a keen sense of baby fashion. Your baby’s safety and health play a role in the clothing you choose in the summer since the heat might lead to overheating if she is wearing too many clothes. The sun’s rays hitting her skin directly increase her risk for sunburn and skin damage. A balance of coverage and cool clothing keeps her content and safe during summer.

Dress your newborn in a base layer of a cotton onesie, which is a T-shirt with snaps that fasten between the legs to hold it in place. Choose light colors to keep your baby cooler if he goes outdoors. The onesie allows you to add layers or take them off as necessary with the onesie still providing coverage.

Add a pair of shorts, a skirt or a pair of lightweight pants over the onesie. Choosing a short item to go on bottom allows your newborn’s legs to stay cooler, especially when she goes outdoors. For a girl, a newborn sundress can replace the onesie and bottom combination.

Dress your newborn in additional layers, such as a lightweight sleeper or long sleeved shirt if he is indoors in a cool, air-conditioned room. Feel his hands and feet periodically to ensure they aren’t chilly. Add socks if his feet get cold indoors.

Dress your newborn in pajamas that are appropriate for the room’s temperature when she sleeps. Choose a heavier sleeper or swaddle her in a lightweight blanket if the room is cool from air conditioning. Dress her in a lighter sleeper if your home is warm during the summer months.

Check your baby frequently to look for signs of overheating, such as hot skin, agitation and lethargy. Keep your newborn indoors or in the shade as much as possible during the summer months. Pack additional clothing options, both warmer and cooler clothes, in the diaper bag in case weather conditions or the indoor temperature of your location changes.

By: Shelley Frost

The summer months often mean outdoor time during family gatherings, barbecues and other social events. Dressing your newborn requires more than a keen sense of baby fashion. Your baby’s safety and health play a role in the clothing you choose in the summer since the heat might lead to overheating if she is wearing too many clothes. The sun’s rays hitting her skin directly increase her risk for sunburn and skin damage. A balance of coverage and cool clothing keeps her content and safe during summer.

Dress your newborn in a base layer of a cotton onesie, which is a T-shirt with snaps that fasten between the legs to hold it in place. Choose light colors to keep your baby cooler if he goes outdoors. The onesie allows you to add layers or take them off as necessary with the onesie still providing coverage.

Add a pair of shorts, a skirt or a pair of lightweight pants over the onesie. Choosing a short item to go on bottom allows your newborn’s legs to stay cooler, especially when she goes outdoors. For a girl, a newborn sundress can replace the onesie and bottom combination.

Dress your newborn in additional layers, such as a lightweight sleeper or long sleeved shirt if he is indoors in a cool, air-conditioned room. Feel his hands and feet periodically to ensure they aren’t chilly. Add socks if his feet get cold indoors.

Dress your newborn in pajamas that are appropriate for the room’s temperature when she sleeps. Choose a heavier sleeper or swaddle her in a lightweight blanket if the room is cool from air conditioning. Dress her in a lighter sleeper if your home is warm during the summer months.

Check your baby frequently to look for signs of overheating, such as hot skin, agitation and lethargy. Keep your newborn indoors or in the shade as much as possible during the summer months. Pack additional clothing options, both warmer and cooler clothes, in the diaper bag in case weather conditions or the indoor temperature of your location changes.

Updated March 18, 2021

For their first few years of life, babies and toddlers spend approximately half of their day asleep (1). Choosing sleepwear that ensures they are comfortable and safe can be confusing. Learn what factors to consider when deciding how to dress your baby for sleep.

What Should a Newborn Wear to Sleep?

The American Association of Pediatricians recommends infants be dressed in no more than one additional layer (2) of clothing than an adult would wear to feel comfortable in the same environment. A diaper or underwear is not considered a layer.

In warm weather over 75 degrees (3), a single layer, such as a cotton onesie and diaper, is enough for a baby to sleep in. In temperatures under 75 degrees, additional layers are necessary. Breathable newborn baby pajamas made from materials such as cotton or muslin can be used along with a sleep sack.

Receiving blankets can be folded, wrapped, and tucked around the baby to create a swaddle (4). A swaddle keeps the arms close to the body but should remain roomy around the hips and legs, since too-tight swaddling can cause hip problems.

Pajamas or swaddles with snaps or two-way zippers are convenient for diaper changes after late night feedings. It’s important to make sure the fit allows for movement without excess material gathering around the face. Embellishments and fasteners that can come loose, such as buttons or pacifier clips, should not be used.

What Should an Infant Wear to Sleep?

Infants are more mobile than newborns and by 6 months often roll over both directions (5). Once they start attempting to roll — sometimes as early as 2 months old — swaddling should stop. While swaddling may help a newborn sleep on their back, should they roll over, the combination of swaddling and stomach sleeping increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (6).

Wearable blankets can be used in place of swaddles once a baby begins attempting to roll over. Wearable blankets are also called sleep sacks and sleep bags. They are unique in that they leave the baby’s arms free while still covering their torso and legs. Because sleep sacks are worn and not loose like blankets, there is little risk of the baby’s face becoming covered during sleep.

Wearable blankets come in a variety of materials, from jersey cotton to bamboo-derived viscose. They’re also available in a variety of shapes ranging from those with a bottom resembling a sleeping bag to those having foot holes that allow for walking. Take care to choose the best option for your baby’s current sleeping conditions and moving capabilities.

What Should a Toddler Wear to Sleep?

Many toddlers have an opinion on what they want to wear to bed, so having options that both parents and child are happy with is a good idea.

By law, children’s pajamas must comply with the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s ruling (7) that they either be snug-fitting or made from materials that pass specific flammability tests. Check tags for chemical fire-retardants as these may irritate skin. When possible, select tight-fitting pajamas that still allow a full range of motion.

Short or long two-piece pajamas or footed onesies are a good option to keep your toddler covered and comfortable through the night. Footed sleep sacks can still be used at this age as well. Although infants less than a year old shouldn’t use blankets or soft bedding because of the SIDS risk (8) they pose, blankets can be introduced to toddlers.

Can Babies and Toddlers Overheat?

Yes, babies and toddlers can overheat at night. Any time you add layers to your child’s sleepwear, make sure to check that they are not too hot. The AAP recommends head coverings not be used to help prevent overheating.

Materials such as cotton, muslin, and bamboo-derived viscose are breathable choices for sleepwear. A good test to see if your baby is too hot is to feel their neck or upper back, just under their pajamas or swaddle. If they feel hot, clammy or sweaty, they are too hot and a layer should be removed.

When the mercury rises, keep your infant happy and healthy with our hot-weather survival guide.

Summer used to mean carefree days laying out by the pool – but as a new mom, you’re now more concerned about your baby’s safety in the heat. Overdress a baby and he could develop an angry heat rash. Expose his fragile body to hot conditions and he could be vulnerable to a painful sunburn or to heatstroke, a serious affliction characterized by a high fever and rapid breathing. Overheating has also been linked to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a fatal sleeping disorder. “Babies sleep deeply when they’re hot, making them difficult to arouse, which may increase the risk of SIDS,” explains Bruce Epstein, M.D., a pediatrician in Pinellas Park, Florida.

To make sure your little one stays cool and protected during the long, hot days of summer, check out our expert advice.

  • Related:Treating Heat Rash

Understand Heat’s Effect on Baby

Once it gets over 80 degrees, the body has a harder time cooling off – especially for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics has no official statement on babies and high temperatures, but Dr. Jan Montague, director of pediatrics at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, NY, says to avoid the heat as much as possible. “It is not OK to take a newborn or any infant outside when it’s very hot – over 80 degrees or so,” she says. “Babies cannot sweat, which is your body’s way of cooling itself off, so they can often suffer heat stroke much quicker than an older child or adult.” Plus, babies can get dehydrated faster, too.

Pick the Right Clothes

If you’re going to be indoors, dress your infant in loose-fitting, lightweight garments, preferably made from a natural fiber like cotton, which absorbs perspiration better than synthetic fabrics. A good rule of thumb: “Dress the baby the way you’re dressed,” Dr. Epstein says. “If you’re wearing shorts and a T-shirt, that will be fine for her, too.” For the outdoors, put her in light-colored long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield her face. Resist the temptation to leave her exposed on a gray day, since harmful rays can penetrate the clouds.

Provide Good Ventilation

Since a baby doesn’t perspire effectively, he can become overheated far more quickly than an adult. That’s why you should never leave an infant in a hot room or a parked car. Even a few minutes could cause his temperature to spike and, in extreme cases, may prove life-threatening.

In addition, don’t overdress your newborn for the car. “Since we keep babies rather tight in the car seat and rear-facing, it can get quite hot, so keep him dressed in one light layer only, no hats or feet covered – babies transfer some heat out to cool themselves from their feet and head,” Montague says. “Also, make sure the sun is not beating on the infant during your drive.” You can use a window shade to avoid a sunburn.

  • RELATED:Heat Exhaustion, Heat Stroke and Your Toddler: What Parents Need to Know

Use a Summer-Friendly Baby Carrier

The combination of your body heat and the carrier’s confining space can make an infant hot and bothered within a matter of minutes. Choose a carrier made from lightweight nylon rather than a heavy fabric like denim. If a child’s face starts to look flushed, remove her from the carrier at once. “You can help keep your baby cool by spraying his hands and feet with water or by wiping him with a wet cloth occasionally,” Montague says. “A carrier that is lightweight made from thin material will keep him cooler than one made of thick, dark material.”

Keep Him Hydrated

Even if you don’t see beads of sweat dripping from your infant’s forehead, he can be losing precious fluids to perspiration in hot weather. A flushed face, skin that’s warm to the touch, rapid breathing, and restlessness may be warning signs of dehydration. Since infants under 6 months shouldn’t drink water (babies over 6 months can take in modest amounts), replace the lost liquids by giving him extra formula or by nursing more frequently. Babies should drink at least 50 percent more than usual in the summer (normal fluid intake is at least two ounces per pound per day), so a ten-pound baby who usually takes in 20 ounces should be offered a minimum of 30 ounces. Also make sure your newborn is having as many wet diapers as usual.