Too cosy or too cold? – How to dress your baby safely this winter – With baby sleep expert, Lucy Wolfe.


Now that the winter is very much upon us, it is important to ensure that our babies are dressed appropriately, as they will not sleep well if they are too hot or too cold.  It can be hard to gauge what is the ideal scenario so I very much trust your judgment within the following recommendations:

The room temperature ideally would be between 16-20 degrees Celsius.  It is helpful to use a room thermometer to asses this for you for the various stages overnight.  Try to avoid the temperature dipping and spiking.

It may be helpful to use a baby sleeping bag adjusting the tog for the season, together with well fitted cot sheets and any required cellular blanket– never using a duvet, quilt or pillow and of course never covering your baby’s head for sleep. 

When using any light (ideally cellular blanket) to accompany the sleeping bag, ensure that it is well tucked in so that there is no loose bedding.  If you fold the blanket in two, that counts as 2 layers, so be mindful about what is needed.

In line with safe sleep guidance, do take notice that nothing else should be in the cot except the baby and the aforementioned bedding- so avoid the cute teddies and positioners for example.

As you get your baby ready for bed avoid allowing them to get cold after their bath, if you are doing one, wrap and transfer to dry them in the bedroom they will sleep in, as part of your bedtime routine. 

Before you place your baby in their sleep space, it may be nice to warm the space with a hot water bottle first and then remove when you place them into the space- that way they are not going from your warm arms to a cold space, making it harder for them to settle.

A big concern is for babies to overheat and this may arise from excessive insulation, high room temperatures and over-wrapping, which is associated with SIDS.  Do keep an eye on how warm your baby seems. 

You can check if they are too hot by placing your hand on the skin of their tummy or the back of the neck- if this area feels hot, clammy or sweaty then it would be advisable to remove a layer.  The hands or the feet are not a good guide as they will always feel cooler. 

If in any doubt about a fever, having a baby thermometer on hand to check the temperature may also help if you are concerned.  A normal temperature in babies and children is 36.4 degrees Celsius and this can vary slightly.

We always remove layers from a baby who has a cold or a fever to give them a chance to lower their body temperature.  Always check further with your GP if you are concerned.

Some older babies when they are not warm enough scoot up to the top of the cot or move onto their tummies, so again, use your informed judgment and proceed to make adjustments to their room temperature and bedding as required.

Be confident in how you are preparing your baby’s sleep environment – you and they, have all the wisdom to communicate the needs as that arise. All of the information is intended as a guide.

Lucy Wolfe, is a Sleep consultant, Co-creational Parent and Relationship Mentor, Author of The Baby Sleep Solution and All About The Baby Sleep Solution, creator of “Sleep Through”, a natural bed and body sleep spray and relaxing rub, and  Mum of four. She runs a private sleep consulting practice where she provides knowledge, expertise and valuable support to families around the world. See www.sleepmatters.ie |+35387 2683584 or |lucy@sleepmatters.ie


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