Keeping your baby warm and comfortable at night (so you can get a full night’s sleep, or at least close to it!) is an art form.
Dress your little one too lightly, and he’ll fuss all night.
But lots of heavy layers can make your baby too hot.
The most challenging seasons are spring and fall when the weather fluctuates between warm sunny days and cool, crisp nights. When I put my baby and my toddler down to sleep at night (between 6 and 8 p.m.), it can be 70-plus degrees in the house.
But if I dress my child for that temperature, halfway through the night her fingers and toes are frigid, her legs too cool.
Through trial and error, and feeling waaaay too guilty over cold baby toes, I’ve come up with a three-step formula that helps kids stay cozy and comfy all night long:
Step 1: Fresh diaper, legless onesie and knee-high socks
Make sure your little one has on a fresh diaper with lots of diaper cream to protect those delicate cheeks. Then add a short or long-sleeved onesie (the kind that only cover the butt, not the legs) and socks.
The socks should be pulled up to reach the knee.
(Toddlers can wear a short-sleeve shirt and a pair of thick cotton tights or leggings and socks.)
Step 2: Sleep sack blanket alternative (fleece or cotton)
Layer on a blanket sleeper like a SleepSack in fleece for cold nights or cotton for warmer nights.
These lifesavers are a safe substitute for loose blankets, which you shouldn’t use because they could end up over your baby’s face and make it difficult for your little one to breathe.
The blanket sleepers come in long-sleeve and no-sleeve varieties, and you can get them in different sizes too. Another great thing about them is that they zip from the bottom up. During middle-of-the-night diaper changes, you won’t have to fumble around with a zillion buttons.
(For toddlers who fling the covers off, use a one-piece footie pajama in a warm fabric.)
Step 3: Fan for climate control (+ white noise)
Use a fan in your baby’s room. It’s great for white noise, which blocks out loud noises and helps babies nod off. But you can also use it for temperature control throughout the night.
If it’s warmer when you first put your baby to sleep, direct the floor fan toward your little one’s crib (pointed at ground level or lightly blowing up in the vicinity of where your baby is in the crib). This keeps your child from overheating at the beginning of the night when your home is still at a higher heat.
Later in the night before you go to bed, turn the fan away from your baby toward the wall so that your child stays warm as the temperature cools in your home.
You can also turn the fan off if you don’t think your baby needs the white noise.
Keeping your baby warm at night is an art form
Try this formula and see if it makes a difference in how your baby feels to the touch during the night and in the morning.
Doing all you can to ensure your little one is getting good sleep – including “climate control” – makes it more likely that you (and the rest of the family) will feel rested come morning, too.