What should my child wear at bedtime?
Your child will struggle to sleep well if they are too hot or too cold.
Trying to dress them appropriately can sometimes be difficult, especially as many parents will worry about overheating as this can be a risk factor for SIDS.
Firstly, I would encourage that we regulate the room temperature to the recommended 16-20ºC and that you ensure that there is no loose bedding and bumpers that restrict the airflow and may also be a hazard.
I will also mention that your baby should never wear a hat indoors and especially not to sleep in.
Remove the doubts
I feel that using a sleeping bag, is probably one of the best ways to remove the doubts about too hot or cold, or worrying about loose bedding and covers that get kicked off. You will be able to adjust the tog to reflect the season and also, this can be a great sleep cue as well.
You can use a sleeping bag from about 6 weeks onwards, although some of you will opt for swaddling in the early weeks and months.
Swaddling comes with mixed reviews around safety, so I encourage parents to make an informed decision.
Promote deeper sleep
There are studies that demonstrate that appropriate swaddling, helps to reduce the startle reflex, reduce crying and promote deeper sleep – and that same deep sleep may also mean that your baby finds it hard to rouse, which may, in turn, be a risk.
What is universally agreed upon is that once your baby is 4 months of age or shows any inclination to move and roll over, then the swaddle needs to go, and then a sleeping bag is again a great solution.
In terms of clothing, your decisions will range from a short to long sleeve vest and a babygro – 100% cotton, bedding and bed-wear are generally promoted as the best practice, and it is also suggested that covering your babies feet, can help to regulate the body temperature too.
Not warm enough
Always adjust your level of clothing to the season and keep an eye on the room thermometer too. Babies rolling onto their tummies, or scooting to the top of the cot, or doing a poo overnight; sometimes, not always – may indicate that they are not warm enough and so you can keep an eye on that too.
You will be able to judge if your baby is too hot or cool, by touching the back of the neck or their tummy and if they feel too warm or clammy, and then remove a layer as appropriate.
This particular topic can worry many parents; I encourage you to take account of the recommendations and to also use your judgment and instincts, so that together your baby will let you know what may not suit them and you can adjust as appropriate, and in line with what feels right for you.
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 |firstname.lastname@example.org