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Winter sleep tips

How to keep your baby warm over winter!

Baby it’s cold outside! As our nights get cooler in winter and we find ourselves reaching for electric blankets and slippers it brings about the question of how we can keep our little ones warm and what we should be dressing them in for sleep.

Our little ones can’t properly regulate their own temperature till closer to 2 years of age so they do rely on us to make sure their sleep environment is suitable for these chilly nights. We need to find that balance between over dressing them and under dressing them! You may want to use a heater in your little one's nursery but make sure it has a thermostat to help monitor the room temperature. Ideally we want to keep the temperature as consistent as possible, not jumping from hot to cold.

Overheating is a risk factor associated with SIDS so we have to be mindful of how many layers and heating we add. Our babies actually sleep better in cooler conditions than in warmer conditions so we don’t want to over heat them!

A comfortable room temperature for your little one sits around 18-22 degrees celsius. It can be handy to have a room thermometer or use a thermostat heater if you are able too as you can then set the temperature at a controlled safe level. Avoid gas heaters or fan heaters.

What should I dress my little one in for sleep?

As a general rule of thumb when dressing your little ones they need one more layer than what we have on. Go natural fibres all the way! We know fleecy pjs can feel super snugly but these artificial fabrics don’t breathe well and can cause overheating. Stay clear of the polar fleece and flannelette and use merino, bamboo or cotton. One piece footed garments are great as they keep their feet warm too.

Merino is an amazing fibre - odour resistant, fire retardant and moisture wicking, so it helps hugely with temperature regulation. Sometimes it can feel a little itchy right up against the skin so you may like to add a cotton or bamboo bodysuit with another Merino layer if it's cold.

It is better to dress your baby in more layers rather than adding dangerous layers of blankets.

Ensure you don’t dress your little one in a hat or beanie for sleep time - this is a huge suffocation risk if it slips over their face and poses a risk for overheating as heat escapes from their heads. Remember to follow safe sleep practices at all times and make sure no pillows, cot blankets or large toys are in their cot and don’t use hats during sleep time. Check out these websites for safe sleep guidelines: or, and make sure no pillows, cot blankets or large toys are in their cot .

Investing in a good sleep sack really does help. You may have heard the term TOG. This can seem a little confusing but basically TOG stands for Thermal Overall Guide. It’s a rating which indicates the thermal insulation of fabric. A higher (heavier) TOG rating is suggested for Winter months and a lower (lighter) TOG rating is suggested for Summer months.

During Winter we recommend a swaddle for babies 0-4 months and a sleeping bag with a 1.0 rating for older babies and toddlers.

How can I tell if my baby is too cold?

A good way to check is by touching the nape of their neck - if this is cool then they may be a little cold. If they feel sweaty, then they are likely too warm. We don’t recommend judging their temperature by their hands and feet due to them having an immature circulatory system. Often their hands and feet feel much cooler than their core temperature so there is no need to cover up their hands!

Trust your instincts and look at your baby. If they are cold overnight it's likely they will wake and be unsettled. Damp hair or being sweaty and flushed can indicate they are too warm and you need to remove a layer of clothing. Feel your baby’s chest and back of the neck - if they feel cold add a layer.


When we are in the thick of these winter months, getting up for night feeds means we may start to see our little ones being increasingly harder to settle back down after being snuggled up with you. Their bassinet and cot mattresses get cold overnight when empty. Here’s a great tip to help keep your baby more settled. Use a wheat bag or hot water bottle and heat it up before going to tend to your baby. When you get them out of their sleep space to feed, pop the wheat bag on their mattress to warm it up. Make sure you remove this when you return the baby back in though! Never leave them sleeping with a wheat bag or hot water bottle. Your baby will love settling back down into a warm bed rather than a cold surface and it won’t be such a shock to the system when your babies are lowered back down if their mattress is warm and cozy. I used to do this for my twins' nap times too to help them settle in the cooler months and it works a treat.

There's no one size fits all answer when it comes to what's right for your little one as it does depend on the external environment (current season and climate) as well as your internal environment (your home). Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find what works best for you and your baby and it's hard when they can’t communicate exactly what's wrong. Trust your instincts when it comes to judging the correct temperature for your baby and enjoy those winter snuggles!

If you have questions about your little ones sleep and want help, contact us at Just Love Sleep today.

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