To sleep well and safely, babies need to be not too hot and not too cold. Here are some tips to help you get your baby’s temperature ‘just right’.
Choosing the right clothes
Dress your baby in enough warm clothes to keep her warm without blankets. Once she can roll over, she can get out from under them and get cold. If you dress your baby in layers of fitted clothing, you can add or take away layers as the temperature changes. A handy tip is to think about what you’d wear to bed and use that as a guide.
Hats and bonnets
Babies can overheat quickly if they wear hats or bonnets to bed. In fact, heat escapes through their heads and faces, so babies can only cool themselves down if their heads are uncovered. Keep your baby’s head uncovered in bed to make sure he stays around the right temperature. Also note that headwear in bed can be a choking hazard.
Take off your baby’s hat or bonnet when you go indoors or into any
closed or warm space, such as a car, so she won’t get too hot.
Your baby’s hands and feet might feel
cool, but this isn’t a good indication of his temperature. Find out how
hot your baby really is by feeling his back or tummy.
If you use a
baby carrier or sling, keep in mind that your baby will be warmed by
your body heat as well as her clothes and wraps.
If your baby’s room is too warm, you could use a plug-in floor fan to
keep the room at a comfortable temperature. As an added bonus, the
background whirring sound a fan makes might help block out sudden
noises that could wake him.
Baby sleeping bags
An infant sleeping bag can be a good option. A correctly sized sleeping bag is the best way to keep your baby’s head and face uncovered, and helps reduce the risk of SIDS. It can also help prevent your baby from rolling onto her tummy during sleep, and contain her legs so they don’t hang out through the cot’s rails. If your baby needs extra warmth, dress her in layers of clothing within the sleeping bag, but keep this appropriate to the temperature of the room.
Check that it’s impossible for your baby to slip down into the bag and become completely covered. SIDS and Kids Australia recommends that you use a sleeping bag that has a fitted neck and armholes but no hood.
Wrapping helps your baby settle for sleep, as well as stay in the safe sleeping position on his back. It’s best to use lightweight cotton or muslin wraps. If you choose to wrap your baby, make sure the wrap doesn’t cover his head, ears or chin – wraps that are too high can obstruct your baby’s breathing and cause him to overheat.
Babies can be wrapped from birth up until they can roll onto their tummies, usually sometime around 4-6 months.
Video Wrapping a newborn
This video is available in different languages
This short video demonstrates various methods of wrapping or swaddling a newborn baby. Wrapping is soothing for some babies and can reduce the risk of SIDS by keeping babies on their backs during sleep.