How to Dress a Baby for Sleep: A Baby Sleepwear Guide

If you're a new parent, you'll understand the importance of a good night's sleep. While it's completely normal for your baby to wake up several times throughout the night when they need feeding, establishing a healthy sleeping routine early will benefit everyone in the long run.

You can try many methods to help your baby snooze through the night, from feeding them at regular times and keeping quiet throughout the night to dimming the light and reading a bedtime story in a soft voice. But, what can really aid their sleeping experience is dressing them appropriately. 

Keep reading to find out how to choose the best sleepwear for your baby so they can sleep soundly. 

What Should a Baby Sleep In?

When putting your baby to bed, you want them to be as comfortable as possible, which can sometimes mean wearing little clothing.

Here are some newborn essentials you'll need to ensure your baby has a great night's sleep:

  • Long and short-sleeved bodysuit.
  • Pyjamas, such as an outer top and leggings.
  • Hand mittens, baby socks, and a hat.
  • sleeping bag for newborns and a thin sheet tucked into the cot.

It's important to consider the material of sleepwear. We'd recommend sticking to the basics and dressing newborns in breathable cotton or natural fibres, as this is more likely to regulate their temperature than other synthetic materials. Cotton and linen are also known to have moisture-wicking properties, making them an effective absorbent which will keep your baby even more comfortable through the night.

Many parents choose to wrap their baby in a swaddle only and avoid the blanket because babies can easily get tangled in a loosely fitted blanket, which may cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

What Does a Baby Sleep in during Summer?

The temperature can affect the amount of sleep your baby gets. Even if they're in a comfortable Sleep By My Crib, they might struggle to drift off on a warm, muggy summer evening. There may also be a higher risk of SIDs on particularly warm days or during a heat wave.

To avoid any overheating, make sure to choose weather-appropriate bedtime clothing for your newborn. You can dress them in a onesie and light sleeping bag on a hot night, such as 24C+. If the temperature is between 22C and 23C, you should dress your baby in long-sleeved pyjamas and a light sleeping bag, and for 20-21C, add a onesie too.

If the temperature continues to rise and you notice your baby is uncomfortable, they can sleep in just a nappy. This will ensure they stay as cool as possible. You may also choose to tuck them into a thin sheet or place them in hand mittens to ensure they don't scratch their face. You know your baby best, after all!

What Does a Baby Sleep in During Winter?

In the colder winter months, most babies don't actually need to wear extra layers. A onesie underneath some long-sleeved pyjamas and a sleeping bag will be perfectly sufficient. The most important thing is to choose a higher tog for the sleeping bag to keep them warm and cosy during the night. With the right tog, babies won't need to sleep under a blanket.

For safety reasons, even in the colder months, the cot should be clear of blankets, pillows and soft toys. They also shouldn't ever sleep with a hot water bottle, electric blanket or near a radiator or heater. 

What is the Tog Rating for Baby Sleep Clothing?

The tog rating for baby sleep clothing and sleeping bags is a warmth scale - the higher the tog, the warmer the item will be for your newborn. Below are the recommended tog ratings for each season:

  • 3.5 tog: best suited for winter months where rooms are below 14C.
  • 2.5 tog: can be used all year round and suitable for room temperatures between 14-20C.
  • 1.0 tog: ideal for spring and summer, with room temperature between 20-24C.
  • 0.5 tog: best for very hot weather where room temperatures are over 24C.

What Temperature is Right to Sleep In?

Ideally, the room your baby sleeps in should be between 16-20C. While it can be tempting to turn up the heating during the winter, it's very important that your baby doesn't get too hot. If you're unsure about the room temperature, buying a simple room thermometer can be very useful as a way to check the temperature whenever your baby is asleep. 

How to Know if a Baby is Comfortable During the Night

If your baby is happy and comfortable at night, they should sleep soundly until it's time for a feed. Their sleepwear should help them maintain a comfortable body temperature and be adjusted depending on the season and room temperature. If your baby is feeling too warm, look out for the following signs:

  • Sweating.
  • Damp hair.
  • Heat rash.
  • Flushed cheeks.
  • Heavy breathing.
  • Noticeably hot chest.

On the other hand, if you're worried that your baby might be too cold, some signs to look out for include:

  • Feeling cold to touch on their tummies, neck or back.
  • Becoming lethargic and slow to respond. 

Providing the optimum sleep for your baby is vital; with the right clothing, you can create the perfect conditions for your baby's restful sleep. At Nuby, your baby's healthy sleep is our priority, so we've developed a range of bedtime and sleep aids to help them nod off. From our Penguin Musical Baby Cot Mobile to Penguin Sleep Aid with Cry Sensor, find the perfect sleep aid for your baby.

For more helpful information and advice for sleeping newborns, read our blog on the best ways to establish a sleep routine.