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Baby dressed for the night sleeping in bed

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How to dress baby for sleep?

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Welcoming a new bundle of joy into the world can be the most exciting yet terrifying thing for many. 

As a new parent, there are so many things to worry about, but how to dress your baby for sleeping should not be one of them. 

No more scouring the internet wondering, “how should I dress my baby to sleep?” as our sleep specialist at Polysleep have compiled a list of common concerns among new parents below to answer many of those questions you may have.

How should I dress my baby to sleep?

Many old wives tales recommend bundling your baby from head to toe for the best sleeping conditions, ensuring they stay warm all night. However, modern studies show that babies sleep their best in cooler temperatures.

How you should dress your baby ultimately depends on the climate you live in, the temperature within your home, and whether it is too hot or too cold. 

Baby sleeping aside dressed in pink pajamas

If your baby is dressed similarly to you, as in layers and thickness of clothing, and you are comfortable, then your baby is likely comfortable as well.

How to fall asleep baby?

TOG ratings

Thermal Overall Grade ratings, or TOG ratings, classify the amount of insulation provided by different baby clothes or bedding. 

The higher the TOG rating, the warmer the fabric will be. 

The thermal overall grade rating is a great tool for all parents who find themselves wondering, “how to dress a baby for bed?” as it takes the guesswork out of dressing your baby.

Very young baby sleeping swaddled in a sleep bag in his crib

Sleep sack vs swaddle

One of the first things new parents are taught when welcoming a new life into the world is how to swaddle that little bundle of joy to keep them cozy and feeling secure. 

Swaddling a baby is the most commonly practiced sleeping attire. However, you should know when to stop swaddling

Babies as young as 2 months old have learned to roll over, which is when parents should transition from placing their baby in a swaddle for sleeping to placing their newborn in a sleeping sack.

The sleep sack is a loose-fitting, wearable blanket designed to cradle a baby while keeping the arms free, allowing for safe movement versus the swaddle that constricts the movement of babies.

How to dress a baby in winter?

Do you often think, how should I dress my baby to sleep in the winter? In the colder months, winter clothes for babies are probably what comes to mind. 

Thick, well-insulated clothes and blankets are not recommended for sleeping as overheating increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The temperature within your home will be the ultimate determinant of what you will dress your newborn in for sleeping versus the temperature outside. 

Baby sleeping wrapped in a blanket including a headband on the edge of a window

Pajamas, a cotton onesie, or baby sleeper gowns are all acceptable sleep options during the winter months. Layers can be added or removed for optimal comfort.

Baby sleeping on a bed without a blanket with clothes of thin fabrics

How to dress a baby in summer?

Contrary to what we are taught, babies can regulate body temperature better than once thought. 

Lightweight, thin layers of clothing are great options for dressing a newborn baby during the summer months, since summertime in many areas leaves the temperature inside homes climbing higher. 

If your home is over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, don’t be afraid to let your baby sleep in just a diaper.

8-week-old sleep schedule

Create the perfect environment

Most babies sleep best in temperatures between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. It is crucial that there are no toys, loose blankets, or pillows in the sleeping space surrounding your baby as they increase the risk of suffocation.

Mom playing with baby girl on the bed in perfect environment

Unless advised differently by the baby’s physician, the ideal sleep temperature for a newborn is 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, as babies sleep their best when they are cooler rather than too hot. 

But you’re probably thinking, how should I dress my baby to sleep? A thin, lightweight onesie is perfect for accommodating the recommended room temperature. It can be layered with a sleep sack at cooler temperatures.

Babies are more sensitive to light than adults. Even a quick flash of light can affect newborns. Some experts recommend red light therapy in the baby’s sleep space as it offers low temperatures and does not block the natural production of melatonin.

Polysleep’s baby mattress is an open-cell memory foam mattress designed with exceptional airflow, support, and comfort for your baby. Polysleep has created this mattress without the use of harsh chemicals and has received the CertiPUR-US certification.

It’s important to research the right mattress for your baby. Polysleep’s baby mattress uses a hybrid foam to help regulate temperature as your baby sleeps and relieves pressure during nap time, leading to better posture and development.

Discover our 5-minute bedtime stories for baby

FAQ: Polysleep answers!

Are you still wondering how to dress a baby for bed? Polysleep has the answers for you!

Close-up of a sleeping baby wrapped in a pink blanket with a floral headband around his head

Babies sleep better in cooler temperatures than in being too hot. A thin cotton onesie layered with a sleeping sack or sleeper gown is ideal for optimal sleeping comfort. If the air conditioner or a fan is blowing directly on your baby, an added layer is recommended. However, if your baby is not in the direct path of the air conditioner, a single layer will likely help your baby sleep better.

When a baby is too warm, there is an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It is better to have thin layers of clothing that can be added to keep the baby warm, versus thick clothing leaving your baby too warm.

One of the best ways to check if your baby is warm enough is to feel its back, chest, or belly. When you feel your baby, he/she should feel slightly warm to the touch. If you’re unsure from touch alone, assess the cues of your baby or you might need to check the baby’s temperature with a thermometer. A restless, fussy baby is likely uncomfortable and in need of something more.

When babies are born, they are prone to poor circulation, leaving their hands and feet feeling colder than the rest of their bodies. Hands may feel cold to the touch and appear slightly discolored - this can be normal for babies. As your child grows, circulation improves.

How should I dress my baby to sleep? The short answer, it depends on the temperature of the room your baby will be sleeping in. In a room that has reached temperatures in excess of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, a baby can comfortably sleep in just a diaper. On the other hand, with temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can layer clothing for comfort to include a thin long sleeve or short sleeve onesie, sleep sack, and socks if needed.

Depending on room temperature, a thin, short sleeve or long sleeve onesie is often recommended when swaddling your baby. The swaddle will help keep the baby warm. Therefore, you don’t want to add anything too thick so as not to overheat your baby.

Don’t wrap your baby too tight in a swaddle. Unless your baby’s doctor tells you otherwise, you should leave one to two inches for the chest to be able to rise with a full breath and to allow for growth and development.

When it comes to sleeping attire for a baby, remember that you have layer options for optimal comfort. Also, choosing the right baby mattress, like The Baby Mattress by Polysleep, can help regulate temperature and relieves pressure.

Discover the Polysleep Baby Mattress !

Baby on his Polysleep mattress


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