Because babies are not able to regulate their body temperature as much as adults can, it is vital that their parents keep them warm and comfortable while they are sleeping. This is especially true during cold winter nights where babies are more vulnerable to flu, cough, and colds. Babies should be kept warm, but not too warm.
Fortunately, there are various tips parents can do to help their babies maintain a consistent body temperature. Below are 9 tips for keeping a baby warm at night.
1. Dress your baby appropriately
To keep your baby warm and cozy during their sleep on cold winter nights, it is ideal to dress them with a few thin layers of easily removable clothes instead of heavy ones. This will allow them to move freely, and it will also help parents to easily change diapers. A suggested rule to follow is dress the baby with one extra layer more than you wear.
Meanwhile, it is suggested to use light, airy clothing during summer months so that they don’t get too warm, and therefore will have a restful sleep.
2. Check the humidity level of the room
The higher the humidity is, the warmer the room will be. For adults and babies, the ideal humidity of the room is around 30 to 50 percent.
If the room lacks humidity, using a humidifier will help to increase it. However, too much humidity can cause the baby to feel sticky to the touch. Using an air conditioner or a humidifier will help eliminate the excess moisture in the room.
3. Set the right temperature
To ensure that the baby doesn’t feel too warm or cold, keep the room temperature between 65 and 72°F (18 to 22°C). This temperature should make an adult feel comfortable wearing light clothes. To monitor the room’s temperature, put a thermometer near the crib and adjust your thermostat accordingly.
4. Use a swaddle or a sleeping bag
When the weather is too cold for newborns, sometimes, layers of clothes are not enough. If you think that your baby still feels cold despite the clothes you provide them, using a thick swaddling blanket or a sleeping bag, or a wearable blanket, is an excellent idea.
Swaddling is a wrapping technique used to keep the baby warm and comfortable which makes them feel that they are in the womb. However, is it important to note that a baby that can already roll on their stomach should not be wrapped in a swaddling blanket.
5. Carefully plan the layout of the room
It is not always considered, but the room layout also affects the warmth and coldness of the baby’s sleeping area. Poor insulation, HVAC vents, drafts, and the sunlight that pierces inside the baby’s room can greatly affect the temperature of the room.
It is important not to place the crib near the window or under the vent as it will make the baby feel too hot.
6. Provide a firm mattress
Using a firm mattress with a waterproof protector sheet will not only keep the baby comfortable and warm in their sleep, but it will also lessen the risk of suffocating hazard that is possible in soft mattresses.
In addition, using soft mattresses also increases the risk of the baby getting flu or cold due to the cold air that enters inside the mattress.
7. Observe the baby
As mentioned, external factors, such as the outdoor temperature, can dramatically affect the temperature in the baby’s room. Even if you set the thermostat to an ideal temperature, the baby may still feel too cold or hot if the weather outside is extreme.
Therefore, it is important to monitor and closely observe the baby’s appearance. If their face is reddish and sweaty, it means that they’re hot. Taking off a layer of their clothes will help them feel better. On the other hand, bluish hands and feet means that they are cold, and putting another layer of clothing will help warm them.
8. Cover the baby’s feet and hands
Since babies drop plenty of heat through their hands, feet, and head, it is vital that they are provided with soft mittens and socks for an extra layer of warmth. In addition, covering the baby’s hands will prevent them from getting grumpy due to discomfort, and will prevent them from scratching their skin.
Keep in mind that although you can cover the baby’s hands and feet, you should not allow them to sleep with a baby cap or any kind of head covering.
9. Preheat the crib before putting the baby down
If the temperature in the house is too cold and cannot be controlled, putting a hot water bottle or a heating pad on the crib for at least 30 minutes before putting the baby down will help give them a warm and comfortable sleeping space. Just ensure to remove the heating pad before laying down the baby as they may get burns from touching it.
Tips for checking if the baby is too warm
The best way to determine if the baby is too warm is by touching their forehead, hand, or cheeks. If they are flushed, or if they feel hot, remove a layer of their clothes. If unsure, it is better to dress the baby with fewer layers.
For babies, it is better to be slightly too cold than too warm since overheating is a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), and therefore should be taken seriously.
To prevent the baby from overheating, here are some tips below that you can follow:
1. Avoid thick clothes
Wearing thick clothes indoors will be uncomfortable and too hot for babies, unless it’s freezing cold outside. Avoid dressing your baby with thick clothes that are suitable outdoors.
2. No hats during sleep
While it is all right to wear hats or hoods for a certain amount of time, babies should not wear hats to sleep as they need to release the excess heat in their body through their head. Moreover, wearing hats to sleep increases suffocation hazards.
3. Feel the baby’s warmth
To have an idea of the baby’s temperature, you may check their head or back. It should feel warm, but not too hot.
4. Observe the temperature
If you have a heater in the house, make sure to watch the temperature in the baby’s room to prevent making the area too warm.
5. Avoid over-layering of clothes
As a rule of thumb, babies should wear one layer of clothing more than an adult is wearing.
It is vital that babies are kept at an ideal temperature since too cold can be uncomfortable, and too hot will be dangerous. It is worth noting the signs of overheating which includes flushed face, sweating, and fast breathing. Also, make sure to avoid hats, caps, and loose bedding for babies under 12 months of age.