A simple guide for how to dress baby for sleep

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if newborn babies came with a manual? Instead they come with all sorts of advice - some of it useful, much of it not so - which ends up confusing you even more. And it’s not very helpful when you’re up in the middle of the night trying to figure out why your baby is crying!

Parenting is all about learning on the job… but there are some things that are helpful to figure out early on so you can actually get your baby to sleep. It’s not too much to ask, is it?

One of those things is how to dress your baby for sleep. How many layers do they actually need? We’re going to break it all down here for you so you have the facts about dressing baby for sleep.

Sleeping baby showing how to dress baby for sleep

Babies and temperature

There are two elements of temperature you need to consider when dressing baby for sleep - body temperature and room temperature. 

While your well-meaning older family members might encourage you to bundle your baby up in blankets and layers to keep them warm, it’s not as simple as this. You might have read about ideal room temperatures, but it’s really just about ensuring your baby doesn’t overheat. You also don’t want them to get too cold. It’s a balance. 

How do you check if your baby is too hot or cold? Don’t use their hands and feet as a guide. The best way to check is by touching the back of their neck or their tummy. If it feels warm then the temperature is right. 

What clothes should a newborn sleep in?

Swaddling for sleep

Babies love to be swaddled. When they are wrapped in a soft swaddle they feel comfortable and secure, which can also help them to sleep better. We certainly found this with our own bebés. When we mastered swaddling, they started to sleep. 

You should look for swaddles that are made from breathable fabrics like cotton or bamboo. This is important as the breathable fabrics help to ensure your bebé doesn’t overheat while they are sleeping.

The aim of swaddling is to keep your bebé’s arms tucked securely to their body, while leaving room for their hips and legs. You don’t want the swaddle to be too tight, but if it’s too loose they can easily wriggle free. It does take time to get it right, but a large swaddle, like the swaddles we sell here at Mamá + Bebé, will give you more flexibility to swaddle your bebé the way you need. 

But other than a swaddle, what clothes should a newborn sleep in? Well, that all depends on the season.

What should baby wear to sleep in winter?

Dressing baby for sleep in winter

Before we launch into dressing baby for sleep in winter, we want to acknowledge that winter can look very different depending on what part of the country you live in. If you are in Cairns your winter will be vastly different to someone living in Hobart. So, use common sense and dress baby according to your local weather.

The general principle is to dress your bebé as you would dress yourself. If you were to layer on jumpers and wrap yourself in a thick blanket, you would probably find yourself sweating up a storm. Babies are no different.

A jumpsuit under a soft jersey wrap may be all you need during winter or on a cool spring or autumn evening.

What should baby wear to sleep in summer?

Dressing baby for sleep in summer

The same principles apply for dressing baby for sleep in summer. Dress them similarly to how you would dress yourself. In really hot weather, this may simply be in a nappy and then with a breathable 100% cotton muslin swaddle. Otherwise, a singlet or sleeveless onesie under a swaddle might be enough.

At the end of the day, if your bebé is too hot or too cold, they aren’t going to sleep. By paying attention to the temperature you can dress them appropriately and help you all get a better night’s sleep! 

Remember to also follow safe sleeping practices.

Pink swaddles for dressing baby for sleep

Here for you and your bebé

At Mamá + Bebé, we aren’t just selling products. We want to make shopping for baby easier so you can enjoy more of those special moments with your bebé. Whether it’s learning how to dress a baby for sleep, finding the perfect baby gift for your best friend, pulling together your birth announcement photo or finding products that make life easier, we’ve got it all in our online baby store

We’re always here to help so contact us at any time to discuss our range of eco-friendly baby products or to provide feedback on your purchases.