A question I am asked often from my clients is: “How do I dress my baby (or toddler) for sleep?” This question pops up more often in the change of seasons. Below you will find a simple guide for recommendations in what baby and toddler should wear when they go to bed, based on the temperature of the house, while also practicing safe sleep.
First things first, it is important to talk about sleep safety. Keeping our babies safe while they sleep is so very important. It also sets the stage for what they should be wearing in the crib.
It is too often that safety is sacrificed for the sake of sleep. I am here to tell you that you can have both! So, crib safety is simple and as easy to remember as our ABC’s.:
A – Your baby should sleep alone. Yes, fully and totally alone. For a child under 12 months of age, they should have nothing in their crib but the clothing they are wearing.
B – Your baby should be placed on their back. I know, there will come a point when they roll, sit up and move around, but until they are 12 months old, lay them down on their back.
C – Your baby should be in a crib (crib, bassinet or pack-n-play). This bed should have a firm mattress and a tightly fitted sheet.
It is also best to keep a baby cool when they sleep. To avoid overheating a temperature in the house for sleep somewhere between 68 – 72 degrees is recommended. This temperature (especially here in Florida) can be hard to obtain in the summer months, but it is so very important. For more on this, please read my post on How to Help Your Child Sleep Well in the Summer Heat.
You can also find more recommendations on safe sleep, on the AAP website.
The Beauty of a Sleep Sack
So, now that you are aware that a blanket in the crib for a baby is not recommended (I would wait to introduce a blanket until about 18 months of age or later). What do you do on those chilly nights?
I love a good sleep sack for so many reasons. First, it is a safe and wearable blanket for our kids who are too young for a blanket. It also makes a great toddler tool, to help prevent our little curious monkeys from climbing out of the crib.
I love sleep sacks so much that I have a blog dedicated to the subject. If you take a look at that blog, you will find what to look for in a sleep sack and how it helps to communicate with your child that sleep is coming.
How to Dress Baby and Toddler for Sleep
This is why you’re here, right? Below you will find the guide to how to dress your baby or toddler for sleep. This is a guide only. You know your child best. Remember that it is always best to keep a baby under 12 months of age on the cooler side to help reduce the chance of SIDS. Also, a baby’s hands and feet tend to run chilly. If you want to get a better idea for how your baby may be feeling; take two fingers and feel the back of his or her neck. Err on the side of keeping them cool. It will keep them safer.
I also recommend that any clothing that you sleep your child in should be breathable. Cotton is a great breathable material. Avoid synthetic materials.
Lastly, in the below chart, I mention the word “tog.” This is a measurement of weight for a sleep sack. As an idea, a 0.5 tog sleep sack will be about the thickness of one layer of muslin. A 1 tog sleep sack will be about the weight of a light blanket. A 2.5 tog sleep sack will be about the weight of a slightly heavier blanket.
As always, the team at Good Night Sleep Site is here to help if you have sleep questions or are struggling with your child’s sleep.
Certified Sleep Consultant
Good Night Sleep Site Florida