How To Dress A Baby For Sleep In Summer, Winter & When Sick

Author Image By Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH •  Updated: 06/21/23 •  Sleep / Sleep Tips

Knowing how to dress a baby for sleep is very important to ensure they sleep soundly, safely and are happy to settle.

However, making the decision on what your baby should wear to sleep can be quite daunting and fraught with self-doubt…

So, let’s take a look at how best to decide what is right for your baby in your particular environment to make sure that they’re just right.

How To Dress A Baby For Sleep

What Are Baby’s Sleepwear Options?

There are lots of options for appropriate baby clothing to wear when they sleep. Typically, dressing your baby for sleep will include:

The right sleepwear can help keep baby comfortable and safe, but it is also weather dependent and will fluctuate in warmer weather compared to cold weather.

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How To Dress A Baby For Sleep In Summer

When it’s warm, you want to keep things light. This is a vital consideration as an overheated baby may increase the likelihood of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), but being too cool will only result in your baby waking up more as they are uncomfortable.

So… for summer weather, dress your baby in:


If your baby is not a fan of being swaddled, then sleep sacks or wearable blankets are great alternatives.

How To Dress A Baby For Sleep In Winter

When it comes to winter and cooler weather, you will be looking at adding additional layers to keep baby warm. So, when dressing your baby for sleep in winter try:

Tommee Tippee GroBags

Another great sleepwear range with sleeping bags to suit all ages and seasons. The easy to follow tog guide used in conjunction with the GroEgg room thermometer will give you peace of mind that you have chosen the perfect sleep attire for your little one.

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Looking to get your little one to sleep quickly and effortlessly? Check out my Bedtime and Nap Cheat Sheet and master the art of making daytime naps and bedtimes as seamless as possible.

How To Dress A Baby For Sleep With A Fever

When your baby is sick, they will need a little bit of extra love and attention to ensure they feel safe whilst under the weather.

Babies will also tend to sleep more when they have a fever, but they will also run a high temperature too.

So what’s the best way to dress a baby for sleep when they have a fever?

Well contrary to what you think, you should not bundle your baby up in extra layers or strip them down to base layers either at the first signs of illness.

Unless your baby is burning up (in which case, you should seek medical advice) you should dress your baby appropriately for the season in loose soft clothes and make sure they are as comfortable as possible.

In order to maintain peace of mind, you can always check baby’s internal temperature using a baby-safe thermometer regularly.

Healthy, happy babies should have a body temperature of around 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit / 36.4 degrees Celcius. But when they’re sick, this can rise by a couple of degrees.

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Create The Perfect Sleep Environment For Baby

Dressing your baby appropriately for sleep is one of several factors that will help your baby get a good night’s sleep.

To ensure your baby can sleep peacefully and restfully, you also need to take into consideration:

1. Maintain The Perfect Room Temperature

Room temperature is hugely important and should be between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 to 22 degrees Celsius.

I highly recommend investing in a room thermometer such as the GroEgg room thermometer as it will give you peace of mind that your baby’s sleep environment is at a comfortable temperature and warns you if baby’s room is getting too warm or too cold.

GRO-Egg Room Thermometer

Offering peace of mind at a glance, the wonderful GRO-Egg changes colour with the temperature of a room. A yellow glow means a safer temperature for children to sleep in which also doubles up as a gentle nightlight for your baby!

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2. Utilise A White Noise Machine

A white noise machine is an amazingly useful piece of kit to help your baby sleep well too. It is soothing and reduces the impact of sudden household noises waking your baby.

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3. Use Blackout Curtains

Blackout curtains can be controversial as if your baby can only sleep in a blacked-out room then they may struggle to sleep in other locations. So they’re definitely a personal choice.

However, it is useful to know that, in hot countries, blackout curtains can make a room cooler to sleep in.

If you’re concerned about your baby not being able to sleep in a variety of locations, you can use a nightlight alongside blackout curtains to avoid the issue of them only being able to sleep when it’s pitch black!

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4. Invest In A Good Crib

The correct crib, bassinet or Moses basket is vital to your baby’s sleeping comfort. A crib should be well-ventilated and have a flat, firm and well-fitting mattress.

Use a warmer flannel bottom sheet in the winter and a cooler cotton one in the warmer months.

This crib from DaVinci is one of my favourites that is perfect for babies all the way up to young children.

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5. Use Appropriate Blankets, Swaddles And Sleeping Bags

Loose blankets are not advisable for young babies to sleep with as they are prone to being kicked off and have a risk of covering your baby’s face.

However, swaddling or sleeping bags such as the ones by Tommee Tippee, which give you the correct options to choose for different temperatures, are a far safer option and most babies love sleeping in them.

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Frequently Asked Questions About How To Dress A Baby For Sleep

Looking for more information about how to dress a baby for sleep? Find the answers to the most common questions here.

Can A Baby Wear Socks To Bed In Winter?

Yes and no… If your baby’s feet feel overly cool to the touch then you could put socks on them to sleep in. However, a footed sleep suit and or sleeping bag will keep your baby’s feet cosy and warm anyway so you will not need to put on socks.

How Do You Know If Your Baby Is Warm Enough?

The best way to tell if your baby is warm enough at night is to feel their skin.

Cool hands and feet are not the best indicators of your baby’s overall temperature so check the following instead:

Keep an eye on your baby’s behaviour too. If they seem uncomfortable, restless or are fighting sleep, do a check of their skin temperature.

Is My Baby Too Hot?

Particularly during a heat wave when we experience warm nights it is easy to put baby in layers which aren’t necessary. Signs your baby is too hot include:

If you suspect baby is too hot, remove at least one layer of clothing to see if any of these signs reduce. You can also try moving to a cooler location to help too.

How To Dress A Baby For Sleep Recap

Naturally, knowing how to dress a baby for sleep can be quite daunting and knowing what is best and safe can be a little confusing.

Remember, the general rule of thumb when it comes to how to dress a baby for sleep is to put them in one more layer than you would feel comfortable with.

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Author Image Bio
Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and a highly qualified childcare expert with over 40 years of experience as a Norland Nanny. She holds a BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning (0-6 Years) and the prestigious Norland Diploma. Paula has worked as a night nanny, run a successful daycare center in London, and helped raise countless children using her tried and tested developmental and guidance methods.

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