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How To Dress For Winter Sleep

​It sure is getting cold and some of my families I have recently worked with are in places where snow is already falling…I have to say it is NOT my favourite time of the year at all. I really do struggle with the cold and often go to bed with my woolly socks and scarf on! But we can’t dress our babies like this in the winter…can we? Read on to find out the best way to dress your baby for sleep in the winter…

First off room temperature ideally needs to be at a consistent 18-20.c. This temperature is perfect for sleep. We do need to bear in mind that core body temp is at its highest the first part of the night then it really drops from 4am onwards, the last sleep cycle of the night, in REM sleep. If the room is cold and body temp drops then this may wake your baby. No one likes sleeping in a cold room so we would not expect a baby to do so also especially when core body temp drops.

If the bedroom is a consistent 18-20.c then the perfect clothing will be a short sleeve vest, long sleeved / legged sleep suit or pyjamas and a 2.5tog sleep bag. If your little one has grown out of a sleep bag and is using a duvet now the toddler duvets will be just perfect. A thick heavy “adult” duvet will be too hot.

​If you are offering a feed to your baby in the later part of the night it is a good opportunity to pop on some cotton socks OR pop an extra layer from the thighs down to keep your child all snuggly! Only use a cotton blanket and ensure it is tucked in at the sides so they do not pull it over their face. Please see the Lullaby Trust for more information on when to introduce a duvet / blankets.

If the bedroom is colder than 18.c your little one will need a warmer sleep bag or an extra layer perhaps. Think in layers and natural fibres such as 100% cotton or bamboo or merino wool sleep sacks. These materials are breathable, soft and comfortable. A swaddle is tight fitting so be very cautious on how many layers you put on your baby. Do’s

  • A 3 or 3.5 tog sleep bag may be needed for bedroom temperatures lower than 18.c. The Gro company have a wide range of designs

  • Merino wool sleep sacks are also a great option

  • Woolino sleep sacks are also another brand you may like

  • Use a footed "onesie" or pop on cotton socks

  • A brushed 100% cotton cot sheet is another way to keep the crib mattress cosy


  • Use fleece clothing or blankets - it is not breathable

  • Put gloves or hats on your baby - they may over heat

  • Do not use an adult duvet for your toddler. It will be too hot

How Do You Know If Baby Is Too Cold? It is normal to feel their forehead or hands to gauge how hot/cold baby may be. But this is not always going to give you the right information. Hands and feet are the last places blood gets to so inevitable will be colder than the rest of the body. Take the back of your hands/fingers and feel the back of their neck.

  • Cold back of neck, baby is cold

  • Cold hands and feet are pretty normal, not a usual sign your baby is actually cold

  • Cold nose is n indicator the room is too cold

My favourite sleep sacks are in this short blog. I explain why they are my faves, some of which due to temperature changes! I always love to hear from my families so let me know how you get on with the colder nights this winter! As always, Peaceful nights to you all, Rachael, Your paediatric Sleep Consultant X


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