7th Mar 2021

What is the ideal temperature for my baby overnight?

We are almost through winter and hopefully through the worst of it, but I’m still regularly getting emails and questions about temperature and bedding for babies overnight.

I consistently get asked, what is the ideal temperature in my babies bedroom and what should I be dressing my child in overnight?  I wish that I could give you a simple answer, but different factors can affect the temperature fluctuation how your baby copes with different temperatures and how many layers you should put your baby in, even at the same actual temperature.

All babies are different. Some babies prefer to sleep a little on the cool side, and some (like me) prefer to be a little more on the warm side.

Our goal is to try to dress our baby to comfortable for them!

This means that you need to learn from your baby. You may need to feel your babies chest regularly to make sure that they feel at a comfortable temperature if your baby is sweaty, clammy, or hot to touch you may need to remove layers and if your baby’s chest feels cool to touch you may need to add a layer. Many parents make the mistake of thinking that the baby is cold if their hands or feet feel chilly but often these are not a good way to measure their core temperature. Fingers and toes can often feel cold when the core temperature is perfect, so the best place to gauge your babies cord temperature is on their chest or back.

The way that your baby is sleeping can also help you know if they are a comfortable temperature or too hot or cold. Babies sleeping with their hands up over the head would usually indicate that they’re too hot and trying to cool off. If their hands are relaxed beside the face or beside their body, that tells you that they are a comfortable temperature. If your baby is older and usually sleeps on the side or back they may roll onto their tummy to keep warm. Older babies who are tummy sleepers will roll over onto their back if they are too hot, or they may go into the fetal position or tuck the hands in under their tummy if they are too cold.

You can use a weather app to check what the outside temperature will drop to overnight each night and use an in-home thermometer to gauge the difference between temperatures from inside your home to the outside temperature. After a few days, you will be able to accurately measure how cold your child’s room is going to get overnight and therefore dress your little one accordingly at the beginning of the night.

Other factors like the region that you live in can affect what you dress your child in. For example, if you live in Queensland, the humidity can affect how the temperature feels, and 18° feels a hell of a lot colder to a Queenslander than 18° feels to someone who lives in South Australia. Other factors like whether or not your house has central heating, drafts like a classic Queenslander or insulation / thermal mass like in apartment buildings can affect how the temperature changes overnight. The ideal temperature for sleeping in is recommended between 18 and 22°. Honestly, you need to work out what works for your family by getting to know the above factors.

With all this being said parents still find themselves confused with what to dress their child in and may find themselves with a multitude of different tog rating sleeping bags to choose from each night and through the season which can become very costly and your baby may grow out of before they’ve gotten the best use out of it. I’ve recently come across a Brisbane based company that has really excelled itself in covering all bases with its “4-in-1” 365 Sleep Bag and the X-TEND Sleepsuit. Their range of baby sleeping bags and baby & toddler sleepsuits are made from 100% certified organic cotton and are cleverly designed to give maximum usage as your baby grows and keeps your baby sleeping safely and comfortably all year round.

For the little ones transitioning out of a swaddle, the “4-in-1” 365 Sleep Bag is just perfect. At first you might think that these sleeping bags are a little expensive, but in reality, these are much cheaper than buying several different togs sleeping bags for different seasons. It actually comes with two separate configurable sleeping bags which can be configured for all four seasons! Check out the link to their website here

For your not so little ones, The Sleepy Company also have their X-TEND Sleepsuit – the ultimate wearable blanket. X-TEND Sleepsuit is perfect for active babies who prefer their legs to be free, toddlers transitioning from cot to big bed and for the older child who still struggle to manage blankets by themselves. These are also super comfortable and made from breathable organic cotton. Not only are these sleepsuits absolutely adorable but their intelligent design makes it easy for nappy changes and toilet training. You can remove or add arms to adjust to different temperatures and the unique 2-in-1 sizing means these will fit your growing child for much longer. Check out the link here:

Along with a good quality sleeping bag, dressing your little one in cotton only at night, use a general rule same as you plus one layer. If you’re covering your arms with a doona or long sleeves your little one needs their arms covered too. Avoid cot bumpers and blankets. Aim to use cotton sheets and a breathable mattress protector and any comforters should also be made of breathable SIDS safe material.

If you’re using a heater, look at getting one with an automatic thermostat and keep the room ventilated.

Article by Elaine Harvey, Lullababy SOS Baby Whisperer & Mother Craft Nurse

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