Last Updated on January 1, 2023

Many first-time parents have a lot of worries when it comes to deciding how to dress baby at night for sleep. For example, will the clothes be too tight? Too loose? Or what if the baby is allergic to them? Does my toddler need a blanket or hat? Will the clothes make them hot or too cold, and what are they going to wear in bed if it’s winter or summer? Well, worry no more! Here are some tips on what you can do so that your new motherhood experience can go as smoothly as possible.

First and Foremost

Generally speaking, when it comes to dressing a baby for bed, you should consider the two most important factors outlined below:

Baby’s room temperatures

Babies are easily overheated. A baby’s room temperature should be set to 20°C or below at night. Make sure to adjust any thermostatic radiator valves or Nest-type devices accordingly.

In addition, it is important to dress the baby appropriately for their age and weather conditions. For example, if you live here in the UK where winters are cold, a one-piece sleepsuit with a sleep sack will help keep your child warmer than a blanket.

TOG rating

TOG stands for Thermal Overall Grade. It is a rating system that measures how much heat baby loses by wearing different types of clothing during bed time. For example, thin baby clothes versus thicker ones. The ratings range from 0-12, with 12 being the warmest. However, when it comes to baby clothes for sleep, the tog rating will rarely exceed 3. A tog rating of 12 would be for a duvet.

The most comfortable baby clothes are ones that keep them warm, but not too hot. For example, if baby is wearing a sleep suit and it’s summertime and the room temerature is 25 degrees and above, baby may be feeling too hot because of the design. On the other hand, winter babies will need thicker clothing to keep their body temperature regulated.

What To Dress Baby In For Sleep

Sleep Sack

This type of garment is like a sleeping bag with feet that parents can put on their babies at night. They are usually made from fleece or cotton, and the idea behind them is to keep your little one cosy – not too hot or cold. Some even come with clips, so they’re easy to take off in case you need to change nappies while your little one is sleeping.

The baby will have a safe sleep because a sleep sack zips up snugly and will not cover the baby’s head. Also, the baby can’t get their legs stuck in a sticky mess, because the bag has enough room in the bottom portion of the sack for infants to move their legs freely.

There are various types of sleep sacks for all seasons, so it’s important to find the right one. For instance, if it is winter and you want your newborn baby to sleep warmly without too much fuss, get an extra-thick one with insulation like cotton flannel or wool. The tog rating should be quite high too. For example, 2.5 tog is a good tog rating for cold winters in the UK. But in the summertime, when the room is much warmer because it can make the baby sleep hot and sweaty, a 2.5 tog will be far too hot. Therefore, opt for something approximately ranging from 0.5-1 tog.

On top of that, you should also consider other sleepwear for your newborn baby such as a sleep suit or pyjamas to wear under the sleep sack. Although the sleep sack is a perfect answer if you are wondering what to dress baby in to sleep, the chances are they will need a vest or sleepsuit underneath. Trial and error on hot and cold nights will help with finding the perfect balance.

Sleep Sack
Baby in a sleep sack

Non-Sleeved or Short-Sleeved Bodysuit

During hot summer nights, like adults, babies and toddlers usually have higher body temperatures. Even loose blankets could make them sweaty in the warmer months like July and August. You should use baby wear like a non-sleeved or short-sleeved bodysuit. It is designed to make babies cool down on those muggy and humid nights.

Releasing heat is the key to making your baby sleep better. Short sleeves on a baby’s clothes can help release heat by making air circulate under and around their arms and upper body. Non-sleeves should be the top layer of clothing for a hot summer night, while short sleeves can be used as an outerwear garment in cooler months when it is not so warm.

Long-Sleeved Bodysuit

When the summer is over, and baby’s room has a comfortable temperature from 15°C to 18°C, a long-sleeved bodysuit is the best option. This type of clothing prevents heat loss and gives warmth so your child can sleep peacefully without any discomfort, even if it’s cold outside or in another room.

Also known as a long-sleeved vest, it covers most of the baby’s body except the legs. You do not need to put socks on your child’s feet or mittens on their hands, as the temperature in the UK around summer and the material is enough to keep them warm. Long sleeves are better than short ones because they will cover more of your baby’s arm, and the fabric can be thicker depending on the brand and material, which means it provides even warmer protection for a sensitive body part like the chest or back, from cold draft.

To find the best type of long sleeved vest, you should consider the fabric. They are often made from organic cotton, wool or even silk which are all very comfortable for babies to wear and provide warmth without being too heavy. You also need to find out if it is easy to care for this type of clothing because some sleepsuits have buttons which may not be suitable for some more older and advanced babies.

It is important that the long-sleeved bodysuit should be comfortable and not cause any type of irritation. For example, some can have scratchy labels or tags, loose seams or bunching fabric at the neckline. Even materials like wool could cause problems for babies with sensitive skin. Dressing a baby in silk and cotton may be better because it doesn’t have any type of fibres that could upset the baby’s delicate skin.

Long sleeved bodysuit vest
Long sleeved bodysuit/vest

Lightweight Clothes

Lightweight clothes, like baby pyjamas, can be made from synthetic, cotton or natural fibre and have a soft, lightweight feel that makes them perfect for bedtime. They are specifically designed to keep babies warm in the winter and cool during summertime and generally consist of a pair of bottoms and a top, much like adult pyjamas.

Lightweight clothes, like a short-sleeve bodysuit, are a good choice because if it’s too hot outside, they will not make your little one overheat. Likewise, you do not need to put on socks because they are like a wearable blanket. Parents usually choose these because they are widely available, relatively cheap, and easy to change during the night in case of overloaded nappies or feeding accidents. Lightweight clothes are not usually expensive, thanks to the materials used in their production, so you can often find 3 in a pack for a low price.

Lightweight clothes for baby
A baby in lightweight pyjamas

Sleep Suit

Another excellent choice which can be compared to a long-sleeve bodysuit is a sleepsuit. This item is a one-piece garment, almost like a onesie, with long sleeves and material that covers the legs and feet. Sleepsuits can be worn in the autumn on their own or with more layers of clothes in the winter.

If you want to purchase a new sleep suit, there are some factors you might need to consider before buying, like materials, colour, and size. Sleepsuits are a good choice for newborn babies, and it does not need to be fully taken off during their nappy change at night, as they can be partially unbuttoned and worked around.

newborn baby in sleep suit
A typical sleep suit

Swaddle Wrap

Nowadays, there are many products designed for babies to sleep in. However, if you ask someone from the older generations what to dress baby in at night , they would most likely recommend the traditional way, which is swaddling. This is a technique to wrap the infant snugly in blankets or certain cloths. The infant feels safe and secure like mum is hugging them, leading to better sleep quality or deep sleep. If your baby is not a great sleeper, purpose-built swaddles are an alternative to loose blankets, which could accidentally come loose or cause other issues if swaddled incorrectly.

A swaddle wrap is one of the more popular products for parents due to its breathable materials. Cotton swaddle wraps will keep your little ones feeling snug-fitting, cosy, warm and secure all night long. Swaddle wraps are a great choice for newborns as they require less effort than other types of swaddle blankets. They can be worn from crib to carrycot in one piece with no need of removing coverings while transferring into different places.

Swaddling provides the ultimate snug fit for your baby, just like an additional layer replacing a sleep sack or other layers of clothes. They are also cost-effective as a single wrap can replace the need for multiple swaddles or blankets. They are fast becoming one of the favourite baby products in the UK, especially as winter approaches.

Swaddle wrap for baby
A swaddled baby

In Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you with some ideas of what to dress baby in at night, and as always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. If you’re still looking for some ideas on outfits for your child, check out our selection of clothes for babies in our gear section. Good luck getting them back into their groove in the morning!

Sources and References

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