How Should You Dress Your Baby for Sleep?
As a general guide, dress and cover your baby in as much or as little clothing as you would wear yourself. If your newborn was premature, weighs under eight pounds, or is “small for date” (meaning baby born with less insulating body fat than he or she needs), your newborn may need an extra layer of clothing. Cotton sleepwear is best because it absorbs body moisture and allows air to circulate freely. Flame-retardant, cotton sleepwear is now available. Your baby’s sleepwear should be loose enough to allow free movement, but well-fitting enough to stay on the proper body parts. Babies usually enjoy sleepers that contain foot coverings. New insights into safe sleeping have shown that overheating babies could diminish a baby’s normal arousability from sleep. This new research has led the American Academy of Pediatrics to recently caution parents about overheating sleeping babies, especially during the first six months.
A co-sleeping baby (a baby who shares the parents’ bed) also shares their body warmth and can easily become overheated. Some sleepsharing babies, therefore, may need to be wrapped or swaddled less warmly.
Get used to feeling your baby’s body temperature. Cold hands and feet indicate the need for more warmth. Hot, sweaty skin indicates the need for less clothing and/or a cooler sleeping environment. Keep a consistent bedroom temperature around 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of around 50 percent.
Be sure to dress your baby in safe sleepwear. Avoid dangling strings or ties on your baby’s sleepwear (and yours as well), since these could cause strangulation. Of course, as your infant grows, expect your child to be more influenced by sleeping fashions and be more selective about what he/she wears to bed at night.