The clothes your baby wears in bed should keep them comfortable enough to sleep safely. Beyond comfort and safety, the most important thing to think about is temperature: They should neither get too hot nor too cold in bed.
This is an essential guide to bedtime wear for babies. As well as clothing and nappies, we’ll also look at pillows and bedding, and explore how things should change as your baby gets older.
When Can Babies Sleep With a Blanket?
Babies can sleep with cotton sheets and blankets from birth. In fact, many parents find blankets make it easier to keep their baby at the right temperature, as you can just add or remove a blanket if the baby gets too hot or too cold.
If you use blankets, you need to tuck your baby in properly. Tuck any sheets and blankets below your baby’s shoulders and under their arms. Check the tog level on the blankets too, and don’t use a blanket higher than 2.5 tog unless it’s very cold.
Sleeping Bags for Newborns
Some parents use sleeping bags instead of blankets. To ensure a sleeping bag’s safe for use, check the label for British Standard BS8510:2009. Also make sure it fits your baby – it shouldn’t be too loose around their neck, and it should fit at the shoulders. This will stop your baby from slipping down inside the bag.
Sleeping bags come in different sizes, so you may have to shop around to find one that fits your baby. You may also have to buy a different size as your baby grows.
As with blankets, you should check the tog levels. Use 0.5 or 1 tog sleeping bags in the summer and 2.5 togs in the winter. You can also buy 3.5 tog sleeping bags, but you should only use these if your baby’s room gets really cold (15°C or lower). If you use a 3.5 tog sleeping bag at any temperatures higher than this, your baby will almost certainly get too hot.
What Should a Newborn Baby Wear to Bed?
According to BabyCentre, the ideal temperature for your baby’s room is between 16°C and 20°C. At higher temperatures, your baby can wear a single layer in bed. Just bear in mind that a nappy does not count as a layer.
At lower temperatures, your baby will have to wear more layers.
A Quick Guide to Layers and Temperature
In temperatures of up to 21°C, your newborn should wear a vest top and a babygrow or onesie. They should then have a sleeping bag or a blanket. In low temperatures (15°C and under), this bag or blanket should be 3.5 tog. In temperatures between 15°C and 17°C, go for 2.5 tog. And in temperatures between 18°C and 21°C, go for 1 tog.
Can My Baby Just Wear a Onesie to Bed?
Your baby can wear a single layer with a 0.5 or 1 tog bag or blanket in temperatures between 22°C and 25°C. At temperatures over 26°C, they’ll likely get too hot with any kind of blanket or sleeping bag. When it’s this warm, your baby will be fine with just one layer – such as a onesie.
Can My Baby Sleep in a Reusable Nappy Overnight?
Yes – in fact, reusable nappies can be better for bedtime. As they’re made from softer materials than disposable nappies, they can be a lot comfier for babies, which can help them sleep better overnight.
Reusable pocket nappies are the ideal choice for bedtime, as you can add a layer of boosters to get extra absorption overnight.
When Can A Child Use a Duvet?
Quilts, duvets and pillows are not safe for newborn babies. Not only do they make them too hot, but they can also quite easier cover their face, creating breathing problems. Babies should only sleep with duvets and pillows when they’re 12 months or older.
You should also avoid having cot bumpers, wedges, positioners and toys in a newborn’s cot to make sure their face isn’t covered accidentally. Even after 12 months, you should only use lower tog duvets. As with blankets and sleeping bags, don’t go for anything higher than 3.5 togs, or they’ll get too hot – even in the colder months.
Children get better at regulating heat from about the age of three. So once your baby’s a toddler, they should be ready for thicker duvets. Until then, go for lower togs, and layer up if they get too cold.
Be sure to check our Real Parenting blog for more essential guides for new parents and mums-to-be.