January 28, 2022 4 min read

Your baby has finally arrived! The months-long wait has finally paid off as you hold the little wonder in your arms for the very first time. Parenthood is a start of a beautiful journey that comes with a lot of responsibilities. And of all the things that new parents worry about, 'How to dress baby for sleep?' tops the list. You may turn to "Google" to seek answers to some frequently thought questions that hover your mind, such as, 'what temperature should the nursery be ?' 'what kind of baby clothes he/she should be dressed in at night?' etc. So, if you are one of those parents struggling to find answers to the 'how to,' we are here to help you out. 


how to dress baby to sleep

We have curated a comprehensive guide on 'How to dress your baby for sleep that contains essential tips you could apply for dressing your baby to ensure he/she gets a good night's sleep. Feel free to bookmark this read!


Dressing your baby for sleep: The thumb rule

The general thumb rule for dressing your baby for sleep is to put one additional layer than you would wear at night. This is important because the baby should not be sleeping in a loose blanket or sheet. Generally speaking, a two-piece cotton nightwear set or a cotton onesie with nickel-free snap closures plus a muslin swaddle should do good. However, this rule is just a generalisation. You will need to consider your baby's sleeping environment before applying this general rule. The ideal room temperature should be between 68 degrees to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. So it is crucial to consider the climate and the weather while dressing your baby for sleep. Hence, you may feel a sleepsack or a lightweight swaddle in warmer months. While in colder months, opt for a long-sleeved onesie or a heavier sleepsack or sleepsack swaddle

It is always better to underdress the baby than to cover him/her in layers as it runs the risk of overheating, which is directly linked to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). A home thermostat or indoor thermometer can help you in choosing the right sleepwear for your baby. Table 1 below shows the summary of the basic rule of dressing up a baby for sleep.

Table 1 : Summary of basic rule for dressing up baby for sleep

  Basic Rule


Dress in layers

Dress your baby in layers rather than thick pajamas. It is easier to add or take away layers depending on the weather and the temperature.

  No hats and beanies at night

Keep your baby's head uncovered while they are asleep as they tend to release heat from the face and head to cool themselves down. Headwear can lead to choking or suffocation.

  Baby's Temperature

Feel baby's back or tummy as they are an excellent indicator of their temperature.

Room Temperature

If you think your baby's room is too warm, use a floor or a ceiling fan. Ensure your plugin in the floor fan on the opposite side of the room, away from your baby.

If the room is too cold, use a heater to warm. Ensure to keep the door of the room slightly open so that it does not overheat.





how to dress baby to sleep

Whether or not to swaddle?

Newborns experience a startling response called the Moro reflex that gets them to suddenly stretch their arms and legs or arching their back and curling in again. This involuntary response to loud noise or a sudden movement can get them to scratch their face accidentally and cause them discomfort while they are asleep. Hence the snug bundling technique or swaddling can help infants feel safe and soothed. Cotton or a muslin material is a good choice as they are lightweight and breathable. If you are not entirely comfortable with the baby swaddling skills, you can opt for a swaddle sack. If your baby starts to roll over, it's a sign to loosen the swaddle. As your baby grows, they will slowly graduate to sleep sack or wearable blanket.

Examples of appropriate sleepwear for your baby

Here we provide you examples of dressing your baby for sleep appropriate to the weather, temperature, and comfort.

  • Don't overdress the baby during summers. 

On warm summer nights, keep it light and breezy – basic short sleeve cotton or organic cotton bodysuit or a t-shirt with a muslin cloth to swaddle or sleep sack layered on top works just fine. 

  • Layer it up during winters

Dress your baby in layers for those chilly winter nights; a full-sleeved bodysuit or a heavier swaddle or sleep sack should do the trick. Ensure there are no loose blankets or sheets.


how to dress baby to sleep

  • No beanies or hats

Hats and beanies may look cute and tempt you to make your babies wear those. But save them for an adorable baby photoshoot. At night do not make your babies wear any headgear as there is a fear of it slipping off their head and cover their face that may cause difficulty in their breathing.


how to dress baby to sleep

  • Functionality first

There are so many baby brands providing a range of adorable infant clothes. However, make sure you keep in mind 'convenience over 'fashion.' You will have very frequently change baby's diapers (even in the middle of the night), so strategically placed zippers and buttons can be very helpful.


how to dress baby to sleep

  • Age-appropriate clothing

Reevaluate your baby's sleep situation as they get older and bigger. What worked at three months may not necessarily work at six months and so on. For instance, you may need to reconsider the usage of specific sleep sacks once your baby is active, pulls up, and stands.

how to dress baby to sleep

The takeaway 

Determining how to dress your baby for sleep correctly is just one of the many daily decisions you have to take. This comprehensive guide will help you thereby make an informed decision. As read above, you need to consider a lot of factors while choosing your baby's sleepwear; one thing that remains constant is the importance of their comfort. As babies cannot talk, we are left to decode their feelings from their coos and cries. 

So try to understand your baby's cues. For instance, if your baby is fed and changed and is still feeling distressed, he/she might be feeling uncomfortable or too hot or cold. When in doubt, always check your baby's tummy or neck, or chest, and if these areas are hot or sweaty, you can take them immediately to get them cooler. 

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